Cannabis Use Increases Psychosis Risk and Persistence of Subclinical Psychosis

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Cannabis use significantly increases the risk for incident psychotic symptoms in individuals with no prior history of psychotic experiences. In persons with evidence of psychosis, cannabis use aids in the persistence of these symptoms, according to researchers from the University of Maastricht in The Netherlands, who have done much of the existing work in the area of cannabis and psychosis.

Cecile Henquet, PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology at the University of Maastricht, reported the findings at the 23rd European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress.

“It has been known for many years that persons with schizophrenia or other psychotic illness use more cannabis than the general population, and other work has shown that individuals using cannabis during adolescence and early adulthood have a higher risk of developing psychotic symptoms. It remains unclear, however, whether the association between cannabis and psychosis is causal or whether an underlying genetic predisposition for psychosis may prompt cannabis use as a way of self-medication. A second issue is whether cannabis impacts on persistence rates of psychosis and which biological mechanisms may underlie this process,” Dr. Henquet said.

Medscape Medical News reported other news on cannabis use and its effect on improving cognitive functioning in some schizophrenic patients. Those findings were also announced at the 23rd ECNP Congress (Early Use of Cannabis May Improve Cognitive Functioning in Subgroup of Patients With Schizophrenia).

Reported by Caroline Helwick
Medscape
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/728121

Submitted by Anna

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