KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 – Women are under-represented in research, which is mainly conducted by men, on links between cannabis and psychosis, drug researchers said.
Daily Mail also reported that researchers from the University of York could not determine if marijuana caused psychosis, despite decades of expensive research.
“Research is letting women down,” lead researcher Ian Hamilton told Daily Mail.
“We should be spending research money on improving the information we have about the risk women face when using cannabis.
“The research to date is completely biased towards men, a situation not helped by mainly men being in control of this research,” he added.
Hamilton’s review of dozens of scientific studies suggested that evidence for marijuana causing psychosis “has so far not been established”, despite substantial research dating back 100 years that links smoking weed to psychosis that often causes hallucinations.
Hamilton, who conducted the literature review with Mark Monaghan from the University of Birmingham, said no knowledge on the link between cannabis and schizophrenia would be gained unless women are included in research.
“Research needs to extend beyond males,” he said.
“For researchers it’s a lot of easier to get people in treatment because they are already there.
“But the problem of doing that is there is more men in treatment than women, so this is also added to this distorted view of cannabis and psychosis. We don’t know enough about young women.”
Hamilton reportedly said researchers should quit replicating studies that try to identify a causal link between cannabis and psychosis, as it is too complicated and it is “never going to happen”.
“Instead, money should be spent on finding out the proportion of women who are at risk.”
He also said too many senior researchers investigating marijuana were men, pointing out that women in senior positions could lend a female perspective to research on the recreational drug.
Daily Mail cited a British Crime Survey that found around 10 per cent of women use marijuana.
Medical Xpress reported that Hamilton’s literature review found little research on cannabis psychosis in Asia, Africa and the Middle East – where marijuana use is high – as studies focus instead on America, Europe and Australia.
“We are missing a large population size in not focusing study in areas outside of America, Europe and Australia.
“We could gain much more knowledge on the risk of cannabis psychosis by including other countries and cultures,” Hamilton was quoted saying.