Can cannabis cause mania and angry rages?

It’s common knowledge that the effects of cannabis can make most users chilled out and relaxed, however many would agree that when wondering about the other effects, anger and rage would be a less assumed.

Recent reports have stated that
cannabis can be a common cause for symptoms of mania, rage and anger, with the
Guardian newspaper revealing
a story on a 25-year-old who commonly has anger issues in connection with his
cannabis addiction.

“I have a 25-year-old son, the younger
of two. I believe he is addicted to cannabis, which he says he needs to combat
his anxiety. He doesn’t work and has episodes of rage. I help him as much as I
can financially without physically handing him cash. When I can’t help him, he
turns on me. He threatens me, saying things such as: ‘I don’t want to live any
more’,” the mother of the subject explains.

Often addiction can happen as a result
of the individual seeking to use the drugs as a coping mechanism for underlying
issues or mental problems, in which using a substance can help the person feel
better in the short-term without having to directly deal with the initial

The anger this person is experiencing
may have more to do with the underlying issue of anxiety and feelings of
uselessness that often come as a result of anxiety, as well as not having a job
and relying on parents.

This is not the only time reports have
distinguished a link between cannabis abuse and angry rages, with a lead
researcher at Warwick University stating
that cannabis can bring on symptoms of mania.

Critical period

“Cannabis is the most prevalent
drug used by the under-18s,” he said.

“During this critical period of
development, services should be especially aware of and responsive to the
problems cannabis use can cause for adolescent populations.”

it has been unclear whether cannabis use predates manic episodes.”

However new research states there is a
“significant link” between cannabis consumption and manic

It also presented a link between
cannabis use and the potential onset of bipolar disorder, although the reports
admits “more research is needed to consider specific pathways from cannabis use
to mania”.

The report also noted that cannabis
use significantly worsened mania symptoms in people who had previously been
diagnosed with bipolar disorder, adding to the theory that the cannabis itself
would not create mania for an individual with no underlying issues but rather
exacerbates a previously existing issue.

However, in spite of the negativity
from the report in terms of the potential impact on mental illnesses, it claims
that consuming cannabis can aid symptoms of depression as long term stress can
reduce the amount of endocannabinoids in the brain, which ultimately affect
motor control, cognition, emotions and behaviour.

The endocannabinoid
(EC) system
is a communications system in the
body and brain that affects how someone feels, moves and reacts. The EC system
is active in every person’s body even if they don’t and have never used

Endocannabinoids are molecules created
by the body, which bind to receptors in the EC system and signal actions that
the body needs to take, such as reliving pain or signal to the body when there
is inflammation somewhere.

Endocannabinoid levels

Endocannabinoids are very similar to
the chemicals present in cannabis and its most well-known active component –
delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – which means that these external
cannabinoids could potentially be used to restore the lost endocannabinoid
levels in the brain in those who have suffered these affects due to long-term
stress or depression.

It appears that the cannabis may not
be causing mania or rage directly, but that the individuals who are
experiencing these symptoms may be suffering from mental health issues
regardless of the cannabis use, and using something that has documented
mental-related effects may be exacerbating the underlying mental issues.

A similar argument
is made for cannabis use causing psychotic disorders, in which it can seem easy
to draw conclusions that this is true. However, most arguments fail to make the
connection between those who are susceptible to psychosis or schizophrenia may
demonstrate problematic behaviour such as smoking, abusing drugs and having
poor school performance before the cannabis use has started.

The cannabis use in this case is
another issue on top of the underlying problems already present, which is a
result of the psychotic disorder instead of being the sole causation of it.

Research from the Alcohol and Drug
Institute at Washington University also noted
a link between cannabis and aggressive behaviour, although it specifically
attributed to fits of anger occurring when someone was withdrawing from the

The common perception is that cannabis
is not physically addictive and that withdrawal doesn’t come with physical side
effects. The report states that users can experience sleep disturbance, nausea,
irritability, loss of appetite, sweating and anxiety, all of which could
contribute to feelings of anger and aggression.

History of aggression

Someone withdrawing from heavy
cannabis use is oftentimes irritable, which can subsequently lead to a higher
likelihood of becoming aggressive in those who have a history of aggression.

The report goes on to explain that
despite some evidence to show an association between cannabis and violence,
there is no definitive correlation between the two and that the violence
displayed by cannabis users and non-users often has a multitude of different
causes, such as increased life stress, aggressive personality traits, multi
drug use and a history of violent behaviour.

Another recent study conducted by Yale
researchers found
a link between cannabis use and aggressive behaviour in a specific gene which
is responsible for regulating cannabis-induced aggression.

Despite the study being limited as it
was conducted solely on mice, it demonstrates the potential aggressive response
being linked to an individual genetic make-up, in that those subjects who had a
missing 2B serotonin receptor gene were more likely to exhibit hyperactivity,
aggression and impulsivity.

With more light being shed on the
topic, the most recent findings demonstrate a need to study the links further
in order to come to a concrete conclusion, as new information opens doors for
further research, as reiterated by Juanita Montalvo-Ortiz, Assistant Professor
of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine.

Montalvo-Ortiz concluded that: “I think there’s a lot of research that could be done. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and it deserves deeper understanding.”

Meanwhile, here’s what Hollywood actor Brian Cox says about his cannabis use https://cbd.local/film-star-brian-cox-says-weed-makes-politics-easier-to-bear/


Ross Chalmers

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