California bill requires cannabis warnings about mental health risks

Should cannabis products in California come with warnings about rare adverse effects for people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, or does this fuel false or exaggerated beliefs about cannabis?

Senate Bill 1097, the Cannabis Right-to-Know Act, was introduced Feb. 16 by Senator Richard Pan and is sponsored by the nonprofit Institute of Public Health. On June 21, it was amended in the Business and Professions Committee, as support for the bill gained ground.

Some researchers say people must already have a predisposition to a mental disorder like schizophrenia for these types of negative reactions to occur, while others disagree. Others say certain types of products shouldn’t be a big concern.

“Cal NORML agrees that consumers should be made aware of the risks of psychotic reactions, particularly with regard to high THC concentrates and dabs,” Dale Gieringer said. Highlights. “Cyclic vomiting syndrome is another concern. We doubt, however, that label warnings are a useful way to inform them. Consumers are already jaded by the proliferation of dumb Prop warnings. 65.”

Gieringer has been the state coordinator for the California NORML branch since 1987, before adult use regulations came into effect, intensifying safety efforts. Requiring warnings like this on products like topicals and CBD products isn’t the answer, he says.

He continued, “We don’t think SB 1097 is the right answer. It makes no sense to post these warnings on innocuous products like topicals or CBD-rich strains. Consumers were not consulted by the authors of SB 1097. We believe more research is needed to determine how best to educate consumers about the risks of THC overuse.

On June 30, the Kaiser Health News featured the case of a teenager who had an adverse reaction to pot, and it was later revealed that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Liz Kirkaldie’s grandson didn’t have a good experience with cannabis, but he suffered from schizophrenia. The pot seemed to reinforce illusions like hearing voices. “They were going to kill him and there were people coming to eat his brains out. Weird, weird stuff,” Kirkaldie said. “I woke up one morning, and no Kory anywhere. Well, turns out he was walking down Villa Lane here, totally naked.

“The drug use activated the psychosis, that’s what I really think,” she said.

Seek and you will find, and there are many peer-reviewed studies that show the negative effects of cannabis use. According to a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry on March 19, 2019, the focus is on high potency pot and the risk is more than four times higher for people who use high potency pot daily than for those who have never smoked. But often these risks are exaggerated.

Alarmists have bet on studies like these, like Alex Berenson, author of Tell Your Kids: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence— who was permanently banned from Twitter for you guessed it, spreading misinformation. The way the arguments are presented gives the impression that schizophrenia is common.

Other researchers say drugs, nicotine and other non-pot factors are confusing the results of studies looking for a true correlation between pot and schizophrenia or other mental disorders.

A 2014 study, led by Ashley C. Proal and Dr. Lynn E. DeLisi of Harvard Medical School, recruited cannabis smokers with and without a family history of schizophrenia, as well as non-smokers with and without such a history. . But this time, pot users were not using any other drugs, so they could rule out these factors. What they actually found was an increased risk of schizophrenia in people with a family history, independent of cannabis use.

“My study clearly shows that cannabis does not cause schizophrenia per se,” Dr. DeLisi told the New York Times in 2019. “Rather, you need a genetic predisposition. It is very likely, based on the results of this study and others, that cannabis use during adolescence through age 25, when the brain is maturing and at its peak of growth in a genetically vulnerable individual, could trigger the onset of schizophrenia.

Other experts supported Dr. DeLisi’s guess that the schizophrenia warnings might be a bit inflated. “Usually it’s the kinds of research that do a little ‘sky fall,’ but here it’s reversed,” said Dr. Jay Geidd, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. “Researchers are wary of overselling the dangers, as has clearly been the case in the past. However, clinicians overwhelmingly approve of seeing many more teens with ‘paranoia’.

SB 1097 now heads to an appropriations committee, sent on June 22, for another reading.

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