By Emily St. John MandelAssociated PressPublished Oct 09, 2018 09:00AMCannabis use has long been associated with higher rates of mental illness, and the growing number of people living with it is putting more strain on the nation’s mental health care system.
While research has linked cannabis use to mental illness in general, there has been a surge in the use of synthetic cannabinoids, also known as THC, that can have the opposite effect.
Now, some experts are warning of a new generation of synthetic cannabinoid that has the potential to cause mental illness.
The report, published Wednesday in the journal Addiction, said a growing body of evidence indicates synthetic cannabinoids are more dangerous than the psychoactive marijuana.
In general, synthetic cannabinoids tend to be a higher risk of abuse than marijuana, which is still legal in some states.
But there are also concerns about the potency of synthetic cannabis, and whether it is the same as the plant that’s grown on a farm in California, for example.
The study analyzed data from more than 4,000 Americans over two decades.
The researchers found that more than half of the people who used synthetic cannabinoids experienced some form of mental health disorder in the past year.
The vast majority, 58 percent, had at least one mental health problem.
In the past three years, the number of cases of mental disorders associated with synthetic cannabinoid use has more than doubled, according to the study.
The rate of mental disorder among synthetic cannabinoid users rose from 12.5 per 1,000 people in 2012 to 24.5 in 2016.
The researchers said it is not clear why some people who use synthetic cannabinoids have more mental problems than others, but they pointed to a growing number in the U.S. of people who suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder.
“Many people who become dependent on synthetic cannabinoids do not use them in a way that would indicate dependence, and instead use them to mask their mental illness,” the study said.
Researchers said the report raises important questions about how people use synthetic cannabis.
It is not known how the synthetic cannabinoids that are being used, including THC and CBD, affect the brain.
Some have argued that marijuana is more dangerous for mental health than synthetic cannabinoids.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a research arm of the federal government, said that the two compounds, like marijuana, are similar and could interact.
“There are some people that use synthetic drugs to treat mental health problems, and it is just that people that have schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who use them are more likely to develop a psychotic illness,” said James C. Kagan, a University of California at San Francisco professor who has researched synthetic cannabinoid research.
“They can be more dangerous to people with mental health issues.”
Some have said the drug can be abused, while others have said it doesn’t harm people.
A study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who reported using synthetic cannabinoids to treat anxiety were significantly less likely to use marijuana.
Researchers have also found that some synthetic cannabinoids may be more addictive than other synthetic drugs.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who used a synthetic cannabinoid regularly were more likely than regular users to develop symptoms of addiction, including an increase in heroin and other opiates.
“Some synthetic cannabinoids might be more harmful than others,” said the authors of the 2016 study, published in Addiction.
“But the question is, can it be controlled?
Can it be taken off the street?
If it is, it may be less harmful than what we have seen in the last few years.”
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