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David Baxter

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Cannabis use may prompt transition to psychosis
10 May 2007
Psychiatry Res 2007; 151: 151-154

Cannabis use is strongly associated with the development of psychosis among people at risk of the disorder, research indicates.

The finding supports the notion that cannabis use is a risk factor for schizophrenia and strengthens the case for screening and monitoring at-risk individuals for cannabis use.

Study authors Karin Kristensen and Kristen Cadenhead (University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, USA) tested the link between cannabis use and psychosis among participants in the Cognitive Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) Program.

CARE is a longitudinal program for individuals deemed to be at risk for developing a psychotic disorder, based on the presence of subsyndromal psychotic symptoms, a family history of schizophrenia, and/or a recent deterioration in global functioning.

During 1 year of follow-up, six (12.5%) of the 48 patients made the transition to psychosis. The transition rate was 3.1% among participants reporting no or minimal cannabis use versus 31.3% among those who met criteria for cannabis abuse or dependence.

The difference between cannabis users and non-users was statistically significant, Kristensen and Cadenhead report in the journal Psychiatry Research.

Further analyses found no association between alcohol or cocaine use and the conversion to psychosis; in contrast, nicotine use was significantly tied to later development of psychosis.

The authors admit that their findings are limited by the small sample size and reliance on self-reported measures of cannabis use. They call for future studies to address these limitations.

"Psychoeducation regarding the deleterious effects of cannabis use in vulnerable individuals could discourage use, and perhaps improve outcome," they conclude.

Abstract
 

Peanut

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Further analyses found no association between alcohol or cocaine use and the conversion to psychosis; in contrast, nicotine use was significantly tied to later development of psychosis.

Those are really interesting findings. I was aware of the cannabis link and I started wondering whether there was any association with alcohol use and the onset of psychotic symptoms, but apparently not (according to this research). I never would have guess nicotine though:confused: Strange.
 

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