karmic cause of schizophrenia

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Post Reply
User avatar
Prasadachitta
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA
Contact:

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Prasadachitta » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:57 pm

Hi all,

I have had extensive long term direct experience of preteen pot use among a large number of people. What I can say is not scientific but comes from my observation. Generally speaking it is my opinion that pot abuse among young people is not as broadly detrimental as most other substances including alcohol. That being said, I have noticed a certain number of young pot abusers with the common angst and confusion of coming to maturity go uncommonly awry. What can be expected to be an awkward transition with hormones and increased cultural expectations becomes a sometimes violent sometimes pathologically depressing affair. Of course there are always these kind of reactions to life without pot use but It seems to me to be quiet a bit more prevalent and acute among those who abuse very early and heavily.

As an aside, I was one of those kids who abused young and heavily. I guess I was lucky or was it Karma? Whatever. As Chris pointed out "Cannabis use can be considered a component cause" not a "sufficient cause".

Also it is my opinion that Karma is always a component of a sufficient cause.

Take care

and Just say no Kids :toast: unless you want to gamble with this precious life.

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

User avatar
Nibbida
Posts: 466
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 3:44 am

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Nibbida » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:05 am

PeterB wrote:
Viscid wrote:
Individual wrote: Bipolar disorder, largely triggered by marijuana use

Someday, I will also have parkinson's disease from using ecstasy too... Drugs are always bad. Always.. Except medicines.
MDMA/Ecstasy has not been shown to cause parkinson's disease.

Declaring drug use as a direct, sole cause for a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder is a gross oversimplication of its pathology. I get the impression the overzealous do this to illustrate that moral failings will lead to permanent suffering, justifying and motivating abstinence through fear.
Quite so. The most that we can say with some degree of certainty is that some people are predisposed to certain conditions and that substances for example marijuana, can serve as a trigger for those conditions. Heredity is a an important element here.
Ditto. Marijuana is such a politically and emotionally charged topic that finding truly objective research is rare. Much research is done with an economic and/or personal agenda. Without getting into a big thing about methodology, there is no evidence that marijuana (or hallucinogens) are a sufficient cause for schizophrenia. The only people for whom those drugs trigger a lasting psychosis are those who have a predisposition, where the drugs serve as a trigger, not a cause of the disease. The same is true of bipolar disorder.

This study just came out on ecstasy, indicating that it's effects in humans have been exaggerated in previous studies which didn't have appropriate controls:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/ ... -new-study

That's not to say that these are completely harmless, much less advisable. I don't touch any drugs, and I don't even drink alcohol anymore. A few years ago, after two years of meditating and no alcohol, I tried one drink to see if my reaction to it had changed. I couldn't stand the way it made me feel. It felt numb and artificial. You couldn't pay me to drink it at this point.

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Ben » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:10 am

I'm wondering whether a meta-study has been done on the literature?
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by PeterB » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:30 am

They are works in progress Ben..The vast majority of Mental Health professionals in the English speaking world are convinced by the argument that cannabis is a powerful trigger factor in both Schizophrenia and Bipolar...

A lesser known health factor associated with some forms of cannabis use is the reporting of higher levels of lung disease among the younger age group. Cannabis in both resin and leaf form is very high in tars.

One of the problems in discussing any of this with cannabis users is the high level of denial among them.

They will pick out the one study that is atypical in its findings and ignore the other fifty six studies as being the work of "The Man."
In reality of course The Man would be as keen to tax this , as he is to tax booze..

User avatar
Annapurna
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Annapurna » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:27 pm

:thumbsup:

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:01 pm

PeterB wrote: One of the problems in discussing any of this with cannabis users is the high level of denial among them.

They will pick out the one study that is atypical in its findings and ignore the other fifty six studies as being the work of "The Man."
I worked my way through college in a food co-op ( a "hippy dippy" place ).

One guy there built his lifestyle around earning just enough to get by and to buy pot. When he had his fix he was obnoxiously congenial, like a used car salesman. Pity to those who got on his wrong side when that began wearing off. This dude would go from friendly to slighted and paranoid at the drop of a hat. We periodically had meetings about supporting marijuana by stocking books in the store or allowing pot activists to pass leaflets out near our store. He would always give a smug and sanctimonious speech about how everything negative stated about pot was conspiratorial BS and that how pot had nothing to do with paranoia. Almost everyone who worked there smoked and almost everyone who worked there was a victim of his THC produced mood swings. Whenever he would give that speech everyone would just look at each other roll their eyes.

Some people handled it well, others didn't.

A number of people there used pot regularly on the weekends, like people going out to bars, got decent grades and led productive lives. Others were like that guy, who as individuals could not handle alcohol and who had no business using it.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:06 pm

Nibbida wrote: A few years ago, after two years of meditating and no alcohol, I tried one drink to see if my reaction to it had changed. I couldn't stand the way it made me feel. It felt numb and artificial. You couldn't pay me to drink it at this point.
I got into the martial arts as a teenager and have spent most of my life sXe in my habits. I've gotten into using caffiene occasionally at work when circumstances have led to me not getting a lot of sleep. I had the same feelings you did, it felt artificial and like something was off.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

User avatar
Nibbida
Posts: 466
Joined: Sat May 02, 2009 3:44 am

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Nibbida » Wed Feb 23, 2011 5:09 pm

Jhana4 wrote:
Nibbida wrote: A few years ago, after two years of meditating and no alcohol, I tried one drink to see if my reaction to it had changed. I couldn't stand the way it made me feel. It felt numb and artificial. You couldn't pay me to drink it at this point.
I got into the martial arts as a teenager and have spent most of my life sXe in my habits. I've gotten into using caffiene occasionally at work when circumstances have led to me not getting a lot of sleep. I had the same feelings you did, it felt artificial and like something was off.
It's pretty remarkable, isn't it? I've heard the same thing from many other people who used to use/abuse various substances and then came to meditation. The funny thing is that it wasn't my intention at the outset to permanently quit alcohol. I started meditating around the time my wife got pregnant, so we just stopped drinking alcohol and didn't keep it around. (I didn't know anything about precepts back then.)

When I had the alcohol I noticed a few, distinct things:

1. There was a numbing, buzzing kind of sensation in the body. This would seem to blot out any negative emotional feeling (i.e. vedana) felt in the body.

2. There was a positive emotional feeling, kind of like warmth and lightness. It was pleasant, but as I said, it felt completely fake. In the course of a normal conversation, for example, emotions fluctuate according to the situation. One feels happy, surprise, sad, etc, and this fluctuates on a moment by moment basis. With alcohol (for me), the emotion was just fixed in one position more or less. It's like the difference between raising your arm voluntarily and feeling the complexity of sensations and the full range of movement, as compared to artificially raising your limb with some kind of splint and having it stuck in one position.

I'm sure these sensations were happening to me all the time in the past when I drank alcohol, but I didn't have the mindfulness and concentration to notice them. Now that I did, I could see what was actually going on and I just naturally lost all interest in it. I could easily see that if someone didn't have a certain level of mindfulness, the alcohol buzz could be seen as preferable to just feeling tense or some other unpleasant feeling. But once you have the mindfulness to investigate what's going on, and have the equanimity to allow it to arise and pass, it becomes clear that alcohol is a hindrance rather than a benefit. I knew from that day on that I had no more interest in alcohol and stopping using it was effortless. (And this was with regards to the buzz of alcohol--to say nothing of the after-effects!)

Using a drug to regulate one's mood is like using a sledge hammer to drive a nail (I'm not talking about medications for psychiatric illnesses here). It will get the job done, but it's not the optimal way to do it and it tends to have unanticipated side effects. It's like a neurochemical bludgeon that temporarily forces the brain into a certain state. So I fully sympathize and understand why that may be appealing to people, especially when that artificial state is preferable to the misery a person lives with otherwise. But once you develop some skill in an alternate way of experiencing thoughts and emotions, it becomes obvious how ineffective the self-medicating strategy is.

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:55 pm

Nibbida wrote: 1. There was a numbing, buzzing kind of sensation in the body. This would seem to blot out any negative emotional feeling (i.e. vedana) felt in the body.

2. There was a positive emotional feeling, kind of like warmth and lightness.
LOL, I think is why people do it.

I've shared your use of "sledgehammer" in thinking about everyday drugs. Now that I know what it feels like to feel altered I can only think "harsh" when I wonder what it is like to go through the day having several big coffees (I've always used much less caffiene and had a sense I was at my limit ) and then maybe having a drink at home. Sledgehammer.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by cooran » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:09 pm

......and how has this to do with schizophrenia?
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:14 pm

cooran wrote:......and how has this to do with schizophrenia?
Nothing :)
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

silentone
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:32 am

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by silentone » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:15 pm

I am new to this forum and will admit that the title of this post drew me in. I myself use marijuana. I do not find this to be contradictory to Buddhist principles as I understand them. I believe some of you may have some misconceptions about the drug and about the research and I share my observations with you, only so that it may help you to understand the path that others walk.

When discussing these studies it is very important to understand form a mathematical perspective that a correlation does not equate causation. There have been links to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but newer research hints that this is self medication. These same studies have also shown that it is most likely effective. Schizophrenics that use marijuana are more alert, show fewer signs of paranoia, and higher cognitive functioning.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20471224" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20483565" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A few hypotheses. THC is an anti-inflammatory and it exhibits interesting effects on the immune system. Contrary to poorly designed studies from the 70's, it turns out that it can actually improve certain components of the immune system, and regulate inflammatory pathways in people with certain disorders. Why is this important for schizophrenia? Well, it turns out that schizophrenia, is being increasingly linked to immune issues. In particular there is evidence that schizophrenics actually have difficulties suppressing the blood parasite toxoplasmosis. This is the one you get from cats. In rats toxoplasmosis actually has evolved the mechanism to alter their behavior. It dysregulates the central nervous system, inhibiting certain fear pathways so that rats will move towards the cat and get eaten (this actually completes the second phase of its life cycle). Humans that get it can get sick, but usually its not an issue unless you have AIDS. People with schizophrenia show trace amounts of it in their grey matter apparently.

So why is all that important? Many of the issues are related to inflammation in this area. Additionally glutamate pathways can become distorted in schizophrenics leading to even more dysregulation. There are many mechanisms and systems involved in schizophrenia. It turns out that THC Is a potent reducer of glutamate. THC can help reduce the inflammation. It is important to realize that schizophrenics often experiment with many drugs to find ones that work, and it turns out that marijuana might actually be very positive for them.

Earlier studies had difficulty picking these details up though. For instance there were well publicized studies that showed teens who dropped out of school smoked pot. Later studies showed that the failure from school resulted first, and that the marijuana use followed as a coping mechanism for the ensuing depression and sense of rejection.

I myself use marijuana. I was diagnosed with OCD. I went on MANY medications for this disorder. None of them worked. At one point I was so drugged out by prescriptions from my psychiatrist I ran over the flower bed at my apartment. Didn't even realize it. Like schizophrenia it involves inflammation, though in a very specific region of the brain. There are also issues of glutamate over activity in OCD and there are studies being done in Germany on its effectiveness. Numerous case studies have demonstrated OCD patients self medicating with weed, and again the results have been good. In my case I went on a total of nine different psychiatric meds in various rounds. None of them brought my OCD down to even half of where I started.

I experimented with marijuana in college and found that after several days of use my symptoms decreased. After I began using habitually my OCD went away completely. I had never lived without OCD before. IT was something that had been with me since I was five. My grades in school went up as I found I had more time to devote to my studies and less on my OCD. My OCD often limited my time that I could spend on my studies and this made it difficult to compete at such a rigorous institution. It also made it difficult for me to interact with people. Its difficult to understand what someone like this goes through. Frankly, the television show "Monk" was not that far off from me. My ocd tendencies were a little more counting than his. Its still a close approximation.

I never found that marijuana inhibited my mathematical or scientific abilities. If anything I found my insight grew. My senior year I took a class that started with 26 people, half of them graduates. Half of the class failed the first semester. The second semester all but three of us were left. I got the highest grade on the final, and I smoked right before hand. This was incredibly advanced mathematics and I finished the test 20 min before anybody else, and only made one mistake on ten pages. I changed a single minus sign on a single problem and was awarded a 97.

THC is not an intoxicant. It is not toxic, and no fatalities have ever been associated with it. It is more safe than aspirin. THC is also a neuroprotectant. Numerous studies are finding that it demonstrates protective effects from brain damage caused by other drugs. There are entities out there doing dubious research. However, their methodologies are usually suspect and very poorly designed. I say this as someone that has at least some contact with scientific research.

Carl Sagan himself actually wrote about how marijuana sponsored some of his most profound scientific works. Certainly marijuana effects people in different ways. I am quite ok with the improvements it has made in my life. I would encourage people not to judge.





Additional thoughts: Many studies have been done on nonhuman animals concerning cannabis. Think if this were the case with chocalate which contains the very helpful chemical theobromine (its linked to positive changes in mood, cognition, neurotransmitter levels, reduced risk of heart attack etc). Theobromine is helpful to humans, but you might remember that it is lethal to dogs, and even more so to cats. This is why you don't feed your pets chocalate! It will make them sick, even though its healthy and good for you. There are fundamental problems with generalizing test tube and rat experiments to humans. They might provide insight into the way certain chemical messenger systems work, but basing policy off an in vitro study would be dubious in my opinion.

Also... Some additional studies and a statement from an advocacy group:
""
But what about claims of cannabis' damaging effect of cognition? A review of the scientific literature indicates that rumors regarding the "stoner stupid" stereotype are unfounded. According to clinical trial data published this past spring in the American Journal of Addictions, cannabis use — including heavy, long-term use of the drug — has, at most, only a negligible impact on cognition and memory. Researchers at Harvard Medical School performed magnetic resonance imaging on the brains of 22 long-term cannabis users (reporting a mean of 20,100 lifetime episodes of smoking) and 26 controls (subjects with no history of cannabis use). Imaging displayed "no significant differences" between heavy cannabis smokers compared to controls, the study found.

Previous trials tell a similar tale. An October 2004 study published in the journal Psychological Medicine examining the potential long-term residual effects of cannabis on cognition in monozygotic male twins reported "an absence of marked long-term residual effects of marijuana use on cognitive abilities." A 2003 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society also "failed to reveal a substantial, systematic effect of long-term, regular cannabis consumption on the neurocognitive functioning of users who were not acutely intoxicated," and a 2002 clinical trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal determined, "Marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence."

Finally, a 2001 study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry found that long-term cannabis smokers who abstained from the drug for one week "showed virtually no significant differences from control subjects (those who had smoked marijuana less than 50 times in their lives) on a battery of 10 neuropsychological tests." Investigators further added, "Former heavy users, who had consumed little or no cannabis in the three months before testing, [also] showed no significant differences from control subjects on any of these tests on any of the testing days."

(References: Lack of hippocampal volume change in long-term heavy cannabis users. American Journal of Addictions. 2005 | Neuropsychological consequences of regular marijuana use: a twin study. Psychological Medicine. 2004 | Non-acute (residual) neurocognitive effects of cannabis use: A meta-analytic study. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 2003 | Current and former marijuana use: preliminary findings of a longitudinal study of effects on IQ in young adults. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2002 | Neuropsychological Performance in Long-term Cannabis Users. Archives of General Psychiatry. 2001) """
Last edited by silentone on Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by PeterB » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:42 pm

I refer you to my earlier post where I said that regular cannabis users ( who live in virtually permanent denial ) will cite an atypical study and ignore dozens of studies which do not support the use of a narcotic.

Quite apart from the fact that cannabis is an illegal substance linked to several major psychotic illnesses , its use is in contradiction to the fifth precept.

Name ONE Theravadin Buddhist teacher who supports the use of cannabis...just one.

I recently attended a multi disciplinary conference called in response to the huge increase in cannabis related psychotic episodes in the London area alone...one of the most interesting was a computerised map which plotted new referrals of young men with a range of cannabis related symptoms..from panic attacks to full blown psychosis.
The mapping showed clearly these new referrals fanning out from a particular estate in east London over a three week period, and showed by tracing it back to source exactly when and where the particular shipment hit the streets...

It was clear and unambiguous.

It has reached the point where collegues and I can spot cannabis users as they walk across the carpark towards the clinic...we no longer ask IF they use...we simply ask when they last used.
Last edited by PeterB on Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

silentone
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:32 am

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by silentone » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:52 pm

PeterB wrote:I refer you to my earlier post where I said that regular cannabis users ( who live in virtually permanent denial ) will cite an atypical study and ignore dozens of studies which do not support the use of a narcotic.

Quite apart from the fact that cannabis is an illegal substance linked to several major psychotic illnesses , its use is in contradiction to the fifth precept.

Name ONE Theravadin Buddhist teacher who supports the use of cannabis...just one.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20471224" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20483565" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

All studies are not identical. Those outside of the scientific community often times find this difficult to accept that correlation does not equal causality. This is especially true when one is discussing issues related to social behavior. The problem with studies done in that manner is that you can find correlation with any drug they take or anything they have experimented with. If you are in the throes of a mental break down, you will try to find medication for yourself.

"Previous studies implicating CUD in the onset of schizophrenia may need to more comprehensively assess the relationship between CUD and schizophrenia, and take into account additional variables that we found associated with CUD."

You could do an identical "map plot' that correlated schizophrenia with any antipsychotic that was prescribed to a patient. You would see the same exact correlations. Again... to a scientist correlation does not equal causation.

Causality isn't simply defined by plot marks on a map. Do you have statistical training?

In my case I had six months of psychiatric evaluations by three licences psychiatric care givers that charted multiple forms of improved cognitive performance in my case. ( As measured by the YBOCS , Yale Brown Scale of Obsessive Compulsive Symptoms and my GPA).

If you are unwilling to discuss the shortcomings of a study, and are unwilling to see the positive effects of a behavior, who is the one that is deluding onself?

I have obtained multiple degrees I would not have been able to otherwise. I succeeded in ways that were not physiologically possible for me.

I'm sorry my reality does not jive with your judgement. To each his own.
Last edited by silentone on Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: karmic cause of schizophrenia

Post by PeterB » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:59 pm

Silentone as one with a previous diagnosis of OCD you are in particular danger as a result of using cannabis.

You will of course ignore/deny this.

I do not have statistical training...but the epidemiologists who presented that section of the programme are statistical experts.


I currently see up to 3 or 4 new referrals a month, of young (mostly ) men.

When other factors are accounted for the operant triggering factor in the vast majority of cases is cannabis use.
Last edited by PeterB on Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 61 guests