Study: Alcohol, Not Cannabis, Associated with Violent Behaviors in Psychotic Patients

Montreal, Canada: The consumption of alcohol, but not cannabis, is associated with an increased likelihood of impulsiveness and violent behavior among subjects with schizophrenic spectrum disorders, according to data published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology

A team of Canadian and Italian investigators assessed the relationship between the use of alcohol and cannabis on psychotic, impulsive, and violent behavior in a cohort of subjects diagnosed with either schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. All of the subjects in the cohort possessed a history of violent behavior. 

Researchers reported: “Cannabis use disorder was neither associated with impulsive behavior nor with violent behavior.” By contrast, they determined that “alcohol use disorder was positively associated with increased levels of impulsivity, in particular impulsive and thoughtless behavior. … [A]lcohol use disorder was [also] significantly associated with violence.”

They concluded, “In summary, our findings indicate that lifetime cannabis use disorder is frequent among patients with psychotic disorders but is not associated with violent and impulsive behaviors.”

Previous studies have identified elevated levels of cannabis use among subjects with certain psychiatric disorders, some of whom may be seeking to self-medicate with it.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use disorder is not associated with lifetime impulsive behavior and severe violence in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders from a high-security hospital,” appears in theJournal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.