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Cannabis Use Linked to Early-Onset Schizophrenia

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Among men suffering from schizophrenia, those who had used cannabis were much more likely to experience their first psychotic episode at an early age at, Dutch investigators report. Dr. Natalie D. Veen, from University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands, and colleagues looked at gender and cannabis use in 133 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Seventy patients were cannabis users and 97 patients were male.

Among men suffering from schizophrenia, those who had used cannabis were much more likely to experience their first psychotic episode at an early age at, Dutch investigators report. Dr. Natalie D. Veen, from University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands, and colleagues looked at gender and cannabis use in 133 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Seventy patients were cannabis users and 97 patients were male. Male patients were significantly younger than female patients when they first became impaired socially or occupationally, when they first exhibited psychosis, and when they first experienced negative symptoms of schizophrenia, the team reports in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Cannabis users were also significantly younger when they experienced these three measures of dysfunction, compared with non-users. The two factors together meant that male cannabis users had their first psychotic episode a mean of 6.9 years earlier than those who did not use the drug. “Since early onset is associated with a poorer prognosis of the disorder, the relationship between cannabis use and the risk of developing an early-onset type of schizophrenia is an important focus for future research,” Veen and colleagues conclude. (Source: American Journal of Psychiatry, Reuters Health, April 2004)

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Posted On: 13 April, 2004
Modified On: 5 December, 2013

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