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Which biological and self-report measures of cannabis use predict cannabis dependency and acute psychotic-like effects?

  • H. Valerie Curran (a1), Chandni Hindocha (a1), Celia J. A. Morgan (a1) (a2), Natacha Shaban (a1), Ravi K. Das (a1) and Tom P. Freeman (a1) (a3)...

Abstract

Background

Changes in cannabis regulation globally make it increasingly important to determine what predicts an individual's risk of experiencing adverse drug effects. Relevant studies have used diverse self-report measures of cannabis use, and few include multiple biological measures. Here we aimed to determine which biological and self-report measures of cannabis use predict cannabis dependency and acute psychotic-like symptoms.

Method

In a naturalistic study, 410 young cannabis users were assessed once when intoxicated with their own cannabis and once when drug-free in counterbalanced order. Biological measures of cannabinoids [(Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) and their metabolites)] were derived from three samples: each participant's own cannabis (THC, CBD), a sample of their hair (THC, THC-OH, THC-COOH, CBN, CBD) and their urine (THC-COOH/creatinine). Comprehensive self-report measures were also obtained. Self-reported and clinician-rated assessments were taken for cannabis dependency [Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS), DSM-IV-TR] and acute psychotic-like symptoms [Psychotomimetic State Inventory (PSI) and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS)].

Results

Cannabis dependency was positively associated with days per month of cannabis use on both measures, and with urinary THC-COOH/creatinine for the SDS. Acute psychotic-like symptoms were positively associated with age of first cannabis use and negatively with urinary THC-COOH/creatinine; no predictors emerged for BPRS.

Conclusions

Levels of THC exposure are positively associated with both cannabis dependency and tolerance to the acute psychotic-like effects of cannabis. Combining urinary and self-report assessments (use frequency; age first used) enhances the measurement of cannabis use and its association with adverse outcomes.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: H. Valerie Curran, E-mail: v.curran@ucl.ac.uk

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Which biological and self-report measures of cannabis use predict cannabis dependency and acute psychotic-like effects?

  • H. Valerie Curran (a1), Chandni Hindocha (a1), Celia J. A. Morgan (a1) (a2), Natacha Shaban (a1), Ravi K. Das (a1) and Tom P. Freeman (a1) (a3)...

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