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Jul 27, 2015 05:15 PM EDT

Marijuana Triggers Psychotic Symptoms In Male Users

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Men may be more likely to experience psychotic symptoms from marijuana than women, according to a recent study.

Trends in cannabis use suggest that twice as many males as females use the drug. This gender ratio is mirrored in rates of psychosis with males outnumbering females by 2:1. However, researchers at the University of York found there is a significant widening of this ratio for cannabis psychosis, where males outnumber females by four to one.

"The marked gender difference in rates of cannabis psychosis is puzzling. It is possible that mental health and specialist drug treatment services, which have a disproportionate number of men, are identifying and treating more males with combined mental health and cannabis problems. However it is also possible that women with cannabis psychosis are not being identified and offered treatment for the problems they develop," researcher Ian Hamilton said in a statement.

For the study, researchers in the Department of Health Sciences at York analyzed large datasets over a period of 11 years to investigate the differences in men and women as they progress from exposure to cannabis through to developing cannabis psychosis.

There has been much research exploring the nature of the relationship between cannabis -- the most widely used illicit drug in the United Kingdom -- and psychosis, however the role of gender in relation to cannabis psychosis is less well explored and understood.

"When it comes to cannabis psychosis gender does matter," Hamilton said.

The findings are detailed in the Journal of Advances in Dual Diagnosis.

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