Psychosis can be defined as a severe mental disorder where the person loses touch with reality. This disorder is sometimes fleeting and sometimes chronic, but it can be dangerous and scary to the person and those around them. It is also a disorder that many people would not associate with marijuana, yet a new study has determined that psychosis can be brought on by regular marijuana use, especially among younger populations.

According to researchers from Montreal, consuming marijuana one to seven times per week can increase the chances of an individual falling into a psychosis state by 159 percent. In order to come up with number, scientists gathered data from 4,000 13-year-olds during a four-year period. The study focused on several tests, including; several questionnaires regarding substance use and if the child had ever experienced psychotic experiences, IQ, memory and stimuli response tests.

After the information was gathered, the researchers were able to determine that psychosis is a very real threat to adolescents who use marijuana, and agreed that this information should be included in any type of educational or preventative measures going forward. They have also published their findings in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

In an effort to explain why psychosis is more prevalent among this age group when marijuana is involved, Josiane Bourqe, lead author of the study said, “An increase in symptoms of depression – such as negative thoughts and low mood – could explain the relationship between marijuana use and increasing psychotic-like experiences in youth.”

Since marijuana is gaining more popularity in several states that have passed laws that allow the recreational use of the drug, this information is perhaps even more alarming. One of the chief concerns of recreational marijuana critics is that it will become easier for adolescents to get their hands on the drug, thus leading to more cases of psychosis. While this study did not delve into the policies of legalizing marijuana, it may serve to better inform politicians about the dangers of underage marijuana use.

Marijuana advocates may try to claim the drug is relatively harmless, but it is very hard to argue with scientific research, especially on developing brains and behavioral issues in adolescents.