Cannabis Use Tied to Higher Risk for Psychotic Disorder in Youth

However, association only seen in adolescents and not young adults
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WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- There is a strong association between cannabis use and risk for psychotic disorder in adolescents, according to a study published online May 22 in Psychological Medicine.

André J. McDonald, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and colleagues linked population-based survey data (2009 to 2012) to health services records up to 2018 to investigate associations between youth cannabis use and psychotic disorders. The analysis included 11,363 respondents (aged 12 to 24 years at baseline) with no prior psychotic disorder.

The researchers found that compared with no cannabis use, cannabis use was significantly associated with psychotic disorders during adolescence (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 11.2; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 4.6 to 27.3). However, no such association was seen during young adulthood (aHR, 1.3; 95 percent CI, 0.6 to 2.6). The association strengthened during adolescence when restricting the outcome to hospitalizations and emergency department visits only (aHR, 26.7; 95 percent CI, 7.7 to 92.8). However, this restriction did not meaningfully change any association during young adulthood (aHR, 1.8; 95 percent CI, 0.6 to 5.4).

"This study provides new evidence of a strong but age-dependent association between cannabis use and risk of psychotic disorder, consistent with the neurodevelopmental theory that adolescence is a vulnerable time to use cannabis," the authors write. "The strength of association during adolescence was notably greater than in previous studies, possibly reflecting the recent rise in cannabis potency."

Abstract/Full Text

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