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Substance use may increase the risk of non-adherence to antipsychotics, resulting in negative outcomes in patients with psychosis.
We aimed to quantitatively summarize evidence regarding the effect of cannabis use, the most commonly used illicit drug amongst those with psychosis, on adherence to antipsychotic medication. Studies were identified through a systematic database search. Adopting random-effects models, pooled odds ratios (OR) for risk of non-adherence to antipsychotic medications were calculated comparing: cannabis-users at baseline v. non-users at baseline; non users v. continued cannabis users at follow-up; non-users v. former users at follow-up; former users v. current users.
Fifteen observational studies (n = 3678) were included. Increased risk of non-adherence was observed for cannabis users compared to non-users (OR 2.46, n = 3055). At follow-up, increased risk of non-adherence was observed for current users compared to non-users (OR 5.79, n = 175) and former users (OR 5.5, n = 192), while there was no difference between former users and non-users (OR 1.12, n = 187).
Cannabis use increases the risk of non-adherence and quitting cannabis use may help adherence to antipsychotics. Thus, cannabis use may represent a potential target for intervention to improve medication adherence in those with psychosis.
Although the association between cannabis use and violence has been reported in the literature, the precise nature of this relationship, especially the directionality of the association, is unclear.
Young males from the Cambridge Study of Delinquent Development (n = 411) were followed up between the ages of 8 and 56 years to prospectively investigate the association between cannabis use and violence. A multi-wave (eight assessments, T1–T8) follow-up design was employed that allowed temporal sequencing of the variables of interest and the analysis of violent outcome measures obtained from two sources: (i) criminal records (violent conviction); and (ii) self-reports. A combination of analytic approaches allowing inferences as to the directionality of associations was employed, including multivariate logistic regression analysis, fixed-effects analysis and cross-lagged modelling.
Multivariable logistic regression revealed that compared with never-users, continued exposure to cannabis (use at age 18, 32 and 48 years) was associated with a higher risk of subsequent violent behaviour, as indexed by convictions [odds ratio (OR) 7.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.19–23.59] or self-reports (OR 8.9, 95% CI 2.37–46.21). This effect persisted after controlling for other putative risk factors for violence. In predicting violence, fixed-effects analysis and cross-lagged modelling further indicated that this effect could not be explained by other unobserved time-invariant factors. Furthermore, these analyses uncovered a bi-directional relationship between cannabis use and violence.
Together, these results provide strong indication that cannabis use predicts subsequent violent offending, suggesting a possible causal effect, and provide empirical evidence that may have implications for public policy.
Effect of cannabis use on memory function is a contentious issue, with effects being different in healthy individuals and patients with psychosis.
Employing a meta-analytic approach we investigated the effects of cannabis use on memory function in patients with psychosis and healthy individuals, and the effect of diagnosis, memory dimension and moderating factors. A total of 88 studies were identified through a systematic literature search, investigating healthy (n = 7697) and psychotic (n = 3261) individuals. Standardized mean differences between the cannabis user and non-user groups on memory tasks were estimated using random-effects models and the effect-size statistic Cohen's d. Effects of potential moderating factors were tested using mixed-effects models and subgroup analyses.
We found that cannabis use was associated with significantly (p ⩽ 0.05) impaired global (d = 0.27) and prospective memory (d = 0.61), verbal immediate (d = 0.40) and delayed (d = 0.36) recall as well as visual recognition (d = 0.41) in healthy individuals, but a better global memory (d = −0.11), visual immediate recall (d = −0.73) and recognition (d = −0.42) in patients. Lower depression scores and younger age appeared to attenuate the effects of cannabis on memory. Cannabis-using patients had lower levels of depression and were younger compared with non-using patients, whilst healthy cannabis-users had higher depression scores than age-matched non-users. Longer duration of abstinence from cannabis reduced the effects on memory in healthy and patient users.
These results suggest that cannabis use is associated with a significant domain-specific impairment in memory in healthy individuals but not in cannabis-using patients, suggesting that they may represent a less developmentally impaired subgroup of psychotic patients.
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