Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Christine Chaney


cannabis, schizophrenia, NIMH


Washington State legalized the manufacturing, processing, and distribution of recreational cannabis with the passing of Initiative 502 in November of 2012. As of 2021, there are over 500 retail stores with active licenses to sell (Cannabis License Applicants, 2021). Since then, public opinion polls and state-wide surveys have found a steady increase in the percentage of the population using cannabis, including children under the age of 18. Schizophrenia is a complex disease thought to be influenced by several genetic and environmental factors. The association between cannabis use and the development of schizophrenia has been well documented (Marconi et al., 2016 & Pearson, 2019). Recent studies have found this association to be more robust as the concentration of THC and frequency of use increase. This paper assesses the impact that legalizing cannabis use for recreational purposes has on the rates of schizophrenia in Washington State. National institutes have not well documented the prevalence of schizophrenia; however, the increase in cannabis usage across all age groups, along with the increasing concentration of THC, causes the population of Washington to be at greater risk for developing schizophrenia.


A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Honors Program.

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