For decades, cannabis had a pretty bad rep, in a large part due to a campaign conducted in the 1930s by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics that sought to portray it as a super-powerful and addictive substance that would cause some users to become violent. Violent enough, in fact, to cause a person to murder their entire family believe it or not. These days, the public would laugh at such an extreme accusation with the recent awareness of the cannabis plant and its true effects. But marijuana, as seemingly harmless as it is, is still a psychoactive substance, but can it ever actually make you hallucinate?
A History of Misinformation
The US-led global war on drugs, has led to countless propaganda campaigns which have contributed to massive amounts of misinformation concerning cannabis. Consequently, this misinformation led to scores of individuals comparing it to hallucinogenic drugs for decades, such as LSD – drugs are usually taken to induce hallucinations. Cannabis, however, is used both medicinally and recreationally for the relaxation that it brings as well as its pain-reducing properties. It’s known to decrease anxiety, induce appetite in cancer patients, reduce seizures for those that suffer from epilepsy and more. There are countless other benefits concerning cannabis.
But what about the side effects?
Pros and Cons or Marijuana
The THC in marijuana stimulates the part of your brain that responds to pleasure. This releases a chemical called dopamine, which is responsible for the “euphoric” feeling cannabis offers when consumed. However, there can be bad side-effects. Cannabis can also affect your mental condition if used too often or in abundantly high doses (especially if you’re a new user), leaving you feeling anxious, paranoid, or panicked. And whiles it’s often used as a treatment for people suffering from schizophrenia, it’s also been linked with worsening mental conditions in some cases, especially when the drug is abused.
Correlation or Causation?
For over 30 years it was believed that those predisposed to psychosis, such as those who have a predisposition or family history of psychological issues, can suffer from auditory and even visual hallucinations when using cannabis. Recent studies, however, refute this theory. An article from 2007 in the Schizophrenia Researches Journal looked at over 760 cases of first onset schizophrenia and compared individuals that used cannabis regularly and those who didn’t. The conclusion? An anti-climactic one: there was “no significant effect of cannabis use” when psychotic episodes occurred in schizophrenics.
The Bottom Line
In truth, the odds that one will hallucinate when using cannabis tend to be very slim, given they have no history of mental conditions and consume the plant in moderate quantities. Caution, however, should still be taken regarding the consumption of pure or even synthetic THC. Unlike the flower bud that most people know of, these potent concentrates can, in fact, elicit acute, intense, psychotic states. But for the most part, cannabis simply gives you a nice buzz.