You’ve come to the right place! It seems like you already know about the link between cannabis and psychosis, but in case you need a refresher, you can always check out our answer to that question here.
Just so everyone’s on the same page, we will start by saying that just like other risky behaviours (such as driving a car), there’s no way to use cannabis without any risks at all, but it’s definitely possible to do some things so that your use is less risky. Some key risk factors to think about are:
- Did you start using at a young age?
- Are you below or above 25 years?
- Do you use daily or nearly every day?
- Do you use multiple times in a day?
- Do you use high dose THC preparations?
- Does/ did a member of your immediate family have a psychotic illness/ episode?
- Have you had psychosis in the past or worrisome anxiety or depressive symptoms?
- Do you use other drugs including alcohol?
These are all things to look out for if you want to be safer with your cannabis use. Here are a few other lists of tips to guide you:
While these resources are great for information on the logistics of use, you might want to consider some questions as a check-in with yourself to better understand if your use is as safe as it could be for you mentally. You may want to ask yourself:
Is my use working for me?
This can mean many things, and we’ll leave it up to you to decide what resonates with your experience, but an important part of using more safely is caring for the emotional part of your use. Some experiences might not be an immediate threat to your life or health, but can still be scary or difficult, and that’s definitely part of feeling safe too. So, to get thinking about that, you can ask yourself about your mindset before use (Are you in a negative headspace? Could the cannabis make it worse?) as well as your setting (Are you comfortable with the people you’re using with? Is the physical environment the one where you want to be right now?). Furthermore, sometimes we may use cannabis to help with experiences like anxiety or sleep problems. While some of us may experience some benefit from it, we may also observe unpleasant feelings like paranoia, ‘greening out’ or worsening of anxiety. It can be problematic if we ignore these unpleasant feelings as they may be warning signs of more serious problems.