Cannabis Use in Youth Ups Incident Psychosis Risk

Study also finds that continued cannabis use may increase risk of persistent psychotic symptoms

THURSDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Cannabis use among youth is associated with an increased risk of later incident psychotic symptoms, with continued cannabis use increasing the risk for persistent psychotic symptoms, according to a study published online March 1 in BMJ.

In a population-based cohort study, Rebecca Kuepper, of Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, and colleagues evaluated 1,923 individuals from the general population, aged 14 to 24 years at baseline, to determine whether use of cannabis in adolescence increases the risk for psychotic outcomes.

Even after adjusting for factors, including age, sex, socioeconomic status, use of other drugs, and other psychiatric diagnoses, the investigators found that incident cannabis use nearly doubled the risk of later incident psychotic symptoms. In addition, among those with cannabis use at the beginning of the study, continued use of cannabis over the study period increased the risk of persistent psychotic symptoms.

"Kuepper and colleagues showed that people who reported new psychotic symptoms, and who persisted in using cannabis between the second and fourth follow-up surveys, reported more persistent psychotic symptoms than those who stopped using cannabis. This association also persisted after controlling for potential confounders," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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