Link between marijuana and mental health

An eminent University of Melbourne Psychiatry Professor will lead a conference detailing the latest research findings on the link between marijuana and mental health.

The conference, ‘Cannabis and Mental Illness’ which is supported by The University of Melbourne, will be held at The Royal Melbourne Hospital on Monday August 16 and Tuesday August 17.

Professor Bruce Singh, Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, said research had lead to many important advances over the last decade.

“Over the past few years, there has been extensive research into the link between cannabis use and mental illness. This conference provides a timely and comprehensive update on the psychiatry and neurobiology of cannabis and its effect on evolving and established illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression.”

The University of Melbourne will bring several distinguished speakers to the stage to discuss the major advances that have been made in understanding the beneficial and adverse effects of cannabis on cognition and its potential role as a cause of psychotic symptoms.

Speakers at the conference will include:

Professor David Castle, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne and Mental Health Research Institute, on ‘Does cannabis cause schizophrenia?’.

Dr Suresh Sundram, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, and North Western Mental Health, on ‘The human cannabinoid system’.

Associate Professor Susan Sawyer, Department of Pediatrics, Royal Children’s Hospital, The University of Melbourne, on ‘Cannabis and mood’.

Professor Patrick McGorry, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne and ORYGEN Youth Research Centre, and Professor Christos Pantelis, Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, will provide expert comments.

Other topics to be covered will include the size of the problem in Australia, the potential existence of cannabis psychosis, the link between cannabis and depression, the effect of cannabis on cognition, weight and smoking and the consumer perception of the drug.

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