Study: Cannabis Use Doesn’t Worsen Symptoms of Schizophrenia
A study published this month by the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin has found that cannabis use doesn’t negatively impact the symptoms of schizophrenia in those with the condition. Although this may come as no surprise to many, it helps to combat the prohibitionist argument that cannabis use is a detriment to those with schizophrenia.
“There are inconsistencies in findings as to whether cannabis use has a negative impact on clinical outcomes for people with established psychosis”, says professor Christine Barrowclough, PhD, who led the study. Due to these inconsistencies, researchers at the University of Manchester and University of Lancaster investigated “the relationship between cannabis use and clinical outcome, including whether change in cannabis use affects psychotic symptoms, affective symptoms, functioning and psychotic relapse in a sample of people in early psychosis with comorbid cannabis abuse or dependence.”
Their study method; “One hundred and ten participants were examined prospectively with repeated measures of substance use antecedent to psychopathology at baseline, 4.5, 9, and 18 months. We used random intercept models to estimate the effects of cannabis dose on subsequent clinical outcomes and whether change in cannabis use was associated with change in outcomes.”
After conducting the study, it was found that; “There was no evidence of a specific association between cannabis use and positive symptoms, or negative symptoms, relapse or hospital admissions.”
Researchers did find that reducing cannabis use may be associated with decrease anxiety and increased patient functioning, though they admit that these findings are inconclusive and may be explained by other factors (for example, increased anxiety may be due to the laws surrounding cannabis, and not the cannabis use itself).
A study released earlier this year, published by the National Institute of Health, found that cannabis may actually provide a treatment option for the symptoms of schizophrenia. The results echo a study published last July in the journal Neuropschopharmacology. A study published in August in the journal Psychiatry Research found cannabis use to be associated with better emotional memory and brain function in those with schizophrenia.