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Opposite relationships between cannabis use and neurocognitive functioning in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 November 2009

P. A. Ringen
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, N-0318 Oslo, Norway Oslo University Hospital – Aker, Clinic for Mental Health, N-0514 Oslo, Norway
A. Vaskinn
Affiliation:
Oslo University Hospital – Aker, Clinic for Mental Health, N-0514 Oslo, Norway
K. Sundet
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo, N-0317 Oslo, Norway
J. A. Engh
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, N-0318 Oslo, Norway Oslo University Hospital – Ulleval, Division of Psychiatry, N-0407 Oslo, Norway
H. Jónsdóttir
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, N-0318 Oslo, Norway Oslo University Hospital – Ulleval, Division of Psychiatry, N-0407 Oslo, Norway
C. Simonsen
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo, N-0317 Oslo, Norway Oslo University Hospital – Ulleval, Division of Psychiatry, N-0407 Oslo, Norway
S. Friis
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, N-0318 Oslo, Norway Oslo University Hospital – Ulleval, Division of Psychiatry, N-0407 Oslo, Norway
S. Opjordsmoen
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, N-0318 Oslo, Norway Oslo University Hospital – Ulleval, Division of Psychiatry, N-0407 Oslo, Norway
I. Melle
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, N-0318 Oslo, Norway Oslo University Hospital – Ulleval, Division of Psychiatry, N-0407 Oslo, Norway
O. A. Andreassen
Affiliation:
Institute of Psychiatry, University of Oslo, N-0318 Oslo, Norway Oslo University Hospital – Ulleval, Division of Psychiatry, N-0407 Oslo, Norway
Corresponding

Abstract

Background

Cannabis use is associated with altered neurocognitive functioning in severe mental disorders, but data are still inconclusive and there are no studies of bipolar disorder. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between cannabis use and neurocognition in bipolar disorder compared with schizophrenia in a naturalistic setting.

Method

A total of 133 patients with bipolar disorder and 140 patients with schizophrenia underwent neuropsychological assessments and clinical characterization including measures of substance use. Relationships between cannabis users and neurocognitive function were explored in the two diagnostic groups. Possible interactions between diagnosis and cannabis use were investigated, and findings were controlled for possible confounders.

Results

In bipolar disorder subjects, cannabis use was associated with better neurocognitive function, but the opposite was the case for the schizophrenia subjects. There was a statistically significant interaction effect of diagnosis and cannabis use on focused attention (p=0.019), executive functioning (verbal fluency – set shifting) (p=0.009), logical memory-learning (p=0.007) and on logical memory-recall (p=0.004). These differences in neurocognitive function could not be explained by putative confounders.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that cannabis use may be related to improved neurocognition in bipolar disorder and compromised neurocognition in schizophrenia. The results need to be replicated in independent samples, and may suggest different underlying disease mechanisms in the two disorders.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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