Could Marijuana Really Cause A Mental Breakdown? We Explain How The Drug Affects The Brain As Kanye West’s Tour Insurer Refuses To Pay For Cancelled Shows – And Blames His Cannabis Use

  • The rapper is suing insurance company, claiming it is refusing to pay him after he was forced to cancel shows in November last year
  • In legal documents Lloyd’s suggest marijuana may have led to Kanye’s mental health issues in a bid to invalidate the performer’s insurance claim
  • Psychosis affects the mind and causes the sufferer to lose touch with reality
  • Dr Lucy Troup, from Colorado State University, explained it cannabis use could cause a psychotic breakdown
  • She said there are a variety of factors that influence it, but research shows it is linked to psychosis and other mental health issues 

By Abigail Miller

Kanye West is suing his tour’s insurer after the company allegedly refused to pay for his canceled shows in November – and blamed his cannabis use.

The rapper was forced to cancel the last 21 shows of his North American tour after he had a mental breakdown and had to be checked into a hospital.

While his insurer Lloyd’s of London would normally cover the costs, the company said they don’t have to pay because his marijuana use caused the breakdown.

The 40-year-old is asking for $10 million in damages from Lloyd’s, claiming the company has yet to pay him out for his cancelled shows, and has no intent to do so.

His company said in a legal document filed on Tuesday that insurers have yet to pay and is ‘implying that Kanye’s use of marijuana may provide them with the basis to deny the claim’.

Here, Daily Mail Online takes a closer look at how marijuana use could cause psychosis and potentially cause a mental breakdown, as Lloyd’s claims.

Marijuana legalization began in the United States in 1996, when California legalized the drug for medical use.

That sparked a wave.

In the next decade, 14 states followed suit: Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Maine, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Vermont, New Mexico, Michigan, New Jersey, Arizona and Massachusetts.

Then in 2012, Colorado and Washington state legalized the drug for recreational use.

Now, just five years later, marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use in eight states: Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, California and Maine.

It is also legal for strictly medical use in the District of Columbia and 21 states: Montana, North Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and Hawaii.

The wave has given rise to a booming industry of edibles, dispensaries, cannabis healthcare professionals, and paraphernalia.

Marijuana is the national favorite according to a report published by, making up more than 70 percent of all drug use in the United States.

But experts warn researchers are struggling to keep up with the pace of legalization, and there are still many gaps in our knowledge.

However, some experts warn people are using the drug to self medicate for things like depression and anxiety despite research showing it does more harm than good.

In fact, there research shows that increased risk of depression as a result of frequent marijuana use is thought to be behind psychosis’ onset. The two mental health conditions have previously been linked.

‘A number of people choose to self medicate, but it could actually make things like anxiety and depression worse,’ Dr Lucy Troup, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Colorado State University told Daily Mail Online.

‘We can’t fully understand yet the brain mechanisms that cause mental illness, but we’ve seen a clear link between marijuana use and users who report psychotic breaks. But again, it’s different for every person.’

In California medical marijuana can be used as a treatment for anxiety. In the other states and DC, someone suffering from anxiety or depression can apply for a medical marijuana license if their conditions are considered to be severe and debilitating.


Chemicals in cannabis could be effective at treating painful migraines, research revealed last month.

Cannabinoids, the compounds in marijuana that make you feel high, may be better at treating pain than recommended migraine medication, a study found.

Researchers from the Interuniversity Center in Florence found that pills containing the chemicals reduce the pain felt by migraine sufferers by 43.5 per cent.

The drug also had a number of additional effects, including stopping stomach aches and muscle pain, according to the researchers.

Previous research has found cannabis reduces migraines by targeting cells in the body that control pain relief and inflammation.


Psychosis is defined as a condition that affects the mind and causes the sufferer to lose touch with reality.

Symptoms include:

  • delusions and hallucinations
  • feelings of paranoia and suspiciousness
  • disorganized thinking and speaking
  • loss of or decreased motivation
  • loss of or decreased ability to initiate or come up with new ideas
  • difficulties expressing emotion

Studies have found that marijuana is thought to cause psychosis-like experiences by increasing a user’s risk of depression. The two mental health conditions have been linked.

Frequently abusing the substance also significantly reduces a user’s ability to resist socially unacceptable behavior when provoked, research suggests.

‘We don’t understand the precise mechanisms for psychosis, but there is clear research that supports that cannabis use can lead to it,’ Dr Lucy Troup, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Colorado State University told Daily Mail Online.

‘I can’t comment particularly on Kanye West’s case, because I don’t know a lot about him other than what the media says. But there are different variables that could have made it more likely such as how long it’s been used, when someone first started, how concentrated or potent the drug is that they are using, how they are taking it, and their specific genotype.’

Drug-induced psychosis is most commonly associated with LSD or amphetamines, but can also be caused by marijuana, cocaine and alcohol.

Results of a study by the University of Montreal revealed that going from being an occasional marijuana user to abusing the substance once a week or as often as every day, increases the risk of psychosis-like experiences by 159 percent.

The results also demonstrated that marijuana use reduces a person’s ability to resist socially unacceptable behavior in response to a particular stimulus.


In the past Kanye has been candid about his weed habit. He’s made multiple references in his songs. He also admitted to smoking before the 2015 Video Music Awards where he infamously announced his 2020 presidential candidacy.

Dr Troup explained that while she doesn’t know much about the rapper’s circumstance in particular, she was surprised to hear that Lloyd’s of London isn’t paying out.

She said that if a bank makes that claim about anyone, be it Kanye or someone less well known, the process to support that claim is long and complicated.

‘There isn’t enough knowledge about his [Kanye’s] medical history for anyone but his doctor to say for sure what caused his mental break,’ Dr Troup explained. ‘It would be a long and complicated process because they would have to look at his blood work, a hospital report, and a number of other things.’

‘I’m guessing when you insure a rock star you have to expect these kinds of things,’ she added.

A source has also told InTouch that Kim and Kanye are now worried footage taken by the rapper’s team in days prior to the tour’s cancellation could be used against him in court.

The video allegedly shows his mental state deteriorating before he broke down in the days leading up to his hospitalization.

August 2017

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