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New Longitudinal Study Finds Lack of Association Between Clinical Psychosis and Cannabis Use in High-Risk Young Adults and Adolescents

September 20, 2023

Neither continuous nor occasional cannabis use has been found to be linked to an increased transition rate towards psychosis or worsened clinical symptoms, functioning levels, or overall neurocognition, according to the study authors of a new longitudinal study. The continuous use of cannabis was associated with higher social and neurocognitive functioning as well as reductions in antidepressant and antipsychotic medications over time compared to the participants who did not consume cannabis.

The study took place over a 2-year period and focused on three subgroups of adolescents and young adults who met clinical thresholds for psychosis. Subgroups were defined by continuous cannabis use among 12 participants, occasional cannabis use among 40 participants, and no cannabis use among 118 participants, which served as the control group in the study.

Study limitations include a small sample of 12 participants in the continuous cannabis use subgroup and no use reported of other illicit drugs outside of alcohol where only 3 participants of the total 170 reported alcohol consumption. Furthermore, a larger sample over a longer period of time could more robustly assess the complex relationship between cannabis use and mental health.