Age Of Onset Of Schizophrenia Not Associated With Marijuana Use, Study Says

Glen Oaks, NY: Cannabis use is not independently associated with the onset of psychosis in first-episode schizophrenia patients, according to clinical trial data published online in the journal Schizophrenia Research.

Investigators at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Long Island, Bronx Lebanon Hospital, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Yale University, and the National Institutes of Mental Health assessed whether lifetime cannabis use was associated with an earlier age of onset of positive symptoms in schizophrenic patients. Researchers compared 49 first-episode schizophrenia subjects who had a history of cannabis use to 51 first-episode subjects with no history of illicit substance use.

Authors reported, “Although cannabis use precedes the onset of illness in most patients, there was no significant association between onset of illness and (cannabis use) that was not accounted for by demographic and clinical variables. … Previous studies implicating cannabis use disorders in schizophrenia may need to more comprehensively assess the relationship between cannabis use disorders and schizophrenia.”

Overall, subjects with a lifetime history of cannabis use were more likely to be male, possess more severe positive symptoms at study entry, and were of lower socio-economic status than nonusers.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Are cannabis use disorders associated with an earlier age of onset of psychosis? A study in first-episode schizophrenia,” will appear in Schizophrenia Research.