Author(s): Barkus EJ, Stirling J, Hopkins RS, Lewis S
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Recent studies have suggested that cannabis use is a risk factor for developing schizophrenia. We tested the hypothesis that cannabis use increases the likelihood of psychosis-like experiences in non-clinical participants who scored highly on a measure of schizotypy. METHOD: The psychological effects of cannabis were assessed in 137 healthy individuals (76\% female, mean age 22 years) using a newly developed questionnaire concerned with subjective experiences of the drug: the Cannabis Experiences Questionnaire. The questionnaire has three subscales: Pleasurable Experiences, Psychosis-Like Experiences and After-Effects. Respondents also completed the brief Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire. RESULTS: Cannabis use was reported by 72\% of the sample. Use per se was not significantly related to schizotypy. However, high scoring schizotypes were more likely to report both psychosis-like experiences and unpleasant after-effects associated with cannabis use. The pleasurable effects of cannabis use were not related to schizotypy score. CONCLUSION: High scoring schizotypes who use cannabis are more likely to experience psychosis-like phenomena at the time of use, and unpleasant after-effects. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that cannabis use is a risk factor for full psychosis in this group. Copyright 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.
This article was published in Psychopathology
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy