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Cannabis Study on Adolscents

Essay by review  •  December 1, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  2,388 Words (10 Pages)  •  833 Views

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Kassin (2004) "Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers in the nervous system that transmit information by crossing the synapse from one neuron to another." (page 50) Neurotransmitters are linked to motor neurons, muscles, arousal, sleep, appetite and memory. For every neurotransmitter our mind has "receptors which are specialized neural cells that receive neurotransmitters." (page 50) Unbalanced neurotransmitter levels along with too many or too little receptors effects our moods and behaviors. Depression, anxiety, sleeping disorders, paranoia, Alzheimer, Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia all are possible mental states and disorders we face depending on our mind chemistry.

When we put any drug into our system our mental chemistry is changed. Some neurotransmitter levels drop, while others rise and receptors are blocked or sometimes overwhelmed. Knowing that a positive, healthy mental state rely on the correct balance of these important chemicals why would we put drugs such as cannabis into our system? Different scenarios led some individuals into smoking cannabis, but what determines their reaction, benefits and negative effects that they experience? While some people experience temporary relief, some experience depression and anxiety. It all depends on how cannabis fits into our personal, complex, mental chemistry.

Van Os & Verdoux (2002) A research report entitled "Early adolescent cannabis exposure and positive and negative dimensions of psychosis" was designed to investigate the effect of cannabis use early in adolescence on sub-clinical symptoms of psychosis both positive and negative. This study was used in the context of an ongoing general population cohort study. (page 323) The thesis and questions this study is aimed at to provide evidence for are as followed: Are individuals with pre-existing vulnerability for psychosis more susceptible to the psychosis-inducing effects of cannabis than those without? Van Os & Verdoux (2002) Does cannabis increases the risk for incident psychotic disorder in those with established personality traits and early symptoms of a psychotic mental state? (page 319-327) Does the use of cannabis in early adolescence have a more powerful effect to the onset of the disorder, rather than cannabis use later on in adolescence? Can cannabis trigger a psychotic disorder as severe as schizophrenia? Johns (2001) Is there a positive association between cannabis and states of anxiety/ depression? (pages 1125-1141)

This particular study used the Greek Birth Cohort which is a collection based on the National Perinatal Survey to find its participants. The Greek Birth Cohort consisted of all the eleven thousand forty eight births throughout Greece between April 1st and 30th 1983. Bakoula (1987) Approval was received from National Hellenic Research, Foundation Institute of Biological Research and Biotechnology, along with the National Privacy Principles Board for permission to contact these individuals.

In 1990, attempts were made to contact these children, now seven years of age, through Greece's public school system. Questionnaires completed were received from six thousand five hundred ninety four individuals and their parents. Out of the 6,594 completed questionnaires received from this survey only four thousand six hundred seventy five individuals were deemed eligible for continuance of this survey. In 2001 attempts to reach these adolescents now 18 years old was made. (pages 43-55)

Van Os & Verdoux (2002) Adolescents questionnaires this time were divided into the following sections: 1.) Family, friends and school; 2.) General and current health; 3.)Questions about mood; 4.) Life-style and hobbies; 5.)Attitude; 6.) Biological measurements; 7.) Nutrition habits. The parents were sent a questionnaire asking information regarding socio-economic factors, family affairs and life-style. Of the 4,675 questionnaires sent out, three thousand five hundred were completed and these 3,500 individuals are only participants that are important to this particular study.

Stefanis (2002) At nineteen, the 3,500 participants were asked the following question have you ever tried or used one of the substances: 1.) Cannabis or 2.) ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, LSD or other similar drugs. Option two was rated as one item, there were no ratings for these drugs separately and Ð''other similar drug' was not defined further. Participants could indicate Ð''never', Ð''once', Ð''two to four times', five or more', or Ð''systematic use (daily)'. Additionally the participants were asked if they used cannabis when they were Ð''15 yrs old or youngerÐ'', or Ð''older than 15 years oldÐ''. (page 1336)

The next part of the survey consisted of the adolescents filling out a 40 item questionnaire called the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE). Stefanis (2002) This questionnaire "captures variation in the positive and negative dimensions of non-clinical psychotic experiences, and additionally captures variation in depression." (page 347) The first portion of the CAPE is a self-report that is based on the Present State Examination(PSE). Peters (1996) The (PSE) was modified for this test by using the method of adding "as if" to the question and styling questions in "do you ever feel/think" fashion in order to for participants to answer the question about not there mood or feeling in the moment they are taking the test, but to answer the question using their previous thoughts and feelings throughout their lifetime.

The (PSE) purpose is to "measure delusional ideation in the general public on a dimensional scale." Peters (1996) This simply means that this test's purpose was to measure symptoms of mental illnesses present in the participants. This section used a five point scale including the following as possible answers for the participants to select as their answer: 'Not at all distressing' ; 'very distressing' ; 'hardly ever think about it' ; Ð''think about it all the time' ; 'don't believe its true' . Wing & Sartorius (1974)

Other portions of the CAPE test included two items on auditory hallucinations, along with fourteen negative and eight depressive symptom questions. The negative symptom questions were taken from the SANS or Subjective Experience of Negative Symptoms test, which is creditable in testing for negative symptoms. Andreasen (1989) The depressive symptom questions were based on sadness, pessimism, hopelessness, feeling a failure and feeling guilty. This section of the CAPE test used a four-point scale to score the questions. The participant could

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