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Cannabis-induced psychosis: a cross-sectional comparison with acute schizophrenia

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Objective: The existence of cannabis-induced psychosis (CP) remains controversial, partly because of methodological problems. We hypothesize that acute schizophrenia (AS) and CP can have distinct demographic, premorbid and clinical features.

Method: We compared 26 patients with CP to 35 with AS, after their cannabis-consumption status was confirmed by repeated urine screens. Patients with CP were assessed after at least 1 week but not more than 1 month of abstinence. Symptoms were evaluated with the Present State Examination (PSE).

Results: In group CP, male gender, expansive mood and ideation, derealization/depersonalization, visual hallucinations, and disturbances of sensorium were more frequent than in group AS. Premorbid schizoid personality traits were more frequently associated to AS and antisocial personality traits to CP.

Conclusion: The continuous heavy use of cannabis can induce a psychotic disorder distinct from AS. These two clinical entities share some features but they differ in others.

Keywords: cannabis abuse; psychoses; schizophrenia; substance-induced

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: 1: Psychiatry Service, Hospital de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, 2: Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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