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(LifeSiteNews) – Frequent partaking in cannabis is linked to as much as a fifth of schizophrenia cases among young males, according to a new study out of Denmark.

The study, published May 4 by the Cambridge journal Psychological Medicine, examines 6.9 million people ages 16-49 and more than 45,000 schizophrenia cases from 1972 to 2021. It found that the adjusted incidence risk ratio for males ages 16 to 20 was more than twice that for females of the same age group, concluding that “[a]t a population level, assuming causality, one-fifth of cases of schizophrenia among young males might be prevented by averting CUD” (cannabis use disorder).

“Under the assumption of causality, in 2021, approximately 15% of recent cases of schizophrenia among males would have been prevented in the absence of CUD, in contrast to 4% among females,” the authors wrote. “For younger males, the proportion of preventable CUD-associated cases may be as high as 25% or even 30%. This increase in PARF [population attributable risk fraction] is related to both increasing associations, likely caused by more potent cannabis, and increasing the prevalence of CUD with time.”

The findings add to a substantial body of evidence that marijuana use carries significant risks, both to the user and to those around him, despite libertarian arguments that the issue is a “victimless crime” and a matter of personal liberty.

Dozens of studies have found a link between marijuana use and developing psychosis and schizophrenia, particularly when used in one’s teens or early 20s, when the brain is still developing. States that have legalized marijuana have also seen increased deaths from traffic accidents.

Shortly after Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, Sgt. Jim Gerhardt of Denver’s North Metro Drug Task Force said he has “seen children infant age that have been getting into this stuff and hospitalized, and this has been under medical marijuana. I can’t imagine how bad it’s going to get with full blown legalization […] All the problems we’ve already had have exploded, and I think they are going to get worse.”

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which represents more than 364,000 law enforcement officers in the United States, opposes marijuana legalization, warning that “states which have elected to disregard the Federal prohibition on this drug have not been able to mitigate the black market in their own jurisdictions or prevent trafficking into and from other States.”

National Review’s Ryan Mills wrote about the case of Catherine Mayberry, a Minnesota honor student and varsity athlete who became addicted to pot as a teenager, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and whose descent into psychosis led to harder drugs and an eventual fatal overdose of fentanyl-laced methamphetamines. He also cites Dr. Robin MacGregor Murray of King’s College London, who agrees there is a link between cannabis and psychosis, particularly due to the higher potency of today’s supply.

In America, marijuana use is fully legal in 21 states, and decriminalized in an additional 10 states.