[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 1972

Marihuana Use and Psychiatric Illness

Author Affiliations

St. Louis
From the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(2):162-165. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750260016003

One hundred regular marihuana users and 50 nonuser friends were interviewed by a psychiatrist. A high lifetime incidence of psychopathology was found in both groups. Half of each group fulfilled criteria for some psychiatric diagnosis. One third received a diagnosis of primary affective disorder. Among users, 12% received a diagnosis of sociopathy compared to none of the controls. Almost every diagnosed psychiatric illness among the users began before first marihuana use. Alcohol, tobacco, sexual experience, "acting out" behavior in limit-testing areas usually antedated marihuana experience. It is concluded that at least some regular marihuana users come from a population at high risk for psychiatric problems, and that these difficulties almost always preceed use of marihuana.