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Young men with cannabis use disorder are at higher risk of schizophrenia

MADRID, 8 May.

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Young men with cannabis use disorder are at higher risk of schizophrenia


Young men with cannabis use disorder are at increased risk of developing schizophrenia, according to a study led by researchers from the Danish Capital Region Mental Health Services and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA). US Nationals of Health.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, found strong evidence of an association between cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia between men and women, although the association was much stronger among young men. According to the study, up to 30% of schizophrenia cases among men aged 21 to 30 could have been prevented by avoiding cannabis use disorder.

Cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia are serious but treatable mental disorders that can profoundly affect people's lives. People with cannabis use disorder are unable to stop using it despite the fact that it causes negative consequences in their lives.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia can seem to have lost touch with reality, and the symptoms of schizophrenia can make it difficult to participate in usual daily activities. However, there are effective treatments for both cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia.

"The intertwining of substance use disorders and mental illness is a major public health problem, requiring urgent action and support for people who need it," said NIDA Director and study co-author Nora Volkow.

According to the alert, "as access to potent cannabis products continues to expand, it is crucial that we also expand prevention, detection and treatment for people who may experience mental illness associated with cannabis use."

"The findings of this study are a step in that direction and may help inform the decisions that healthcare providers may make in the care of patients, as well as the decisions that individuals may make about their own cannabis use." , stands out.

Previous studies indicate that rates of daily or near-daily cannabis use, cannabis use disorder, and new diagnoses of schizophrenia are higher among men than among women, and that early and frequent cannabis use is associated with a increased risk of developing schizophrenia. However, few studies have examined differences in the relationship between cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia in different age and sex groups at the population level.

To address this research gap, the researchers analyzed national-level health record data in Denmark, which included health record data for more than 6.9 million people who were between the ages of 16 and 49 at some point in time. between 1972 and 2021.

Using these nationally representative longitudinal data, the researchers investigated how the associations between cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia varied across different sex and age groups, and how these differences changed over time.

Although there are many risk factors associated with schizophrenia, in this study, the researchers sought to estimate the proportion of all schizophrenia cases that can be attributed to cannabis use disorder specifically, based on gender and age groups at the national level. population.

The study team estimated that 15% of schizophrenia cases among men could have been prevented in 2021 by preventing cannabis use disorder, in contrast to 4% among women.

For young men between the ages of 21 and 30, they estimated that the proportion of preventable schizophrenia cases related to cannabis use disorder may be as high as 30%. The authors stress that cannabis use disorder appears to be an important modifiable risk factor for schizophrenia at the population level, especially among young men.

This study also adds to existing evidence suggesting that the proportion of new cases of schizophrenia that can be attributed to cannabis use disorder has increased steadily over the past five decades. The authors note that this increase is likely related to the increased potency of cannabis and the increased prevalence of diagnosed cannabis use disorder over time.

"Increased legalization of cannabis in recent decades has made it one of the most widely used psychoactive substances in the world, while public perception of its harmfulness has declined. This study adds to our growing understanding that the Cannabis use is not safe and that the risks are not fixed at any given time," says Dr. Carsten Hjorthoj, lead author of the study and associate professor at the Danish Capital Region Mental Health Services and the University of Copenhagen.

The authors note that further research is needed to examine possible differences in the potency and frequency of cannabis use between young men and women, and to examine the mechanisms underlying the increased vulnerability of young men to the effects of cannabis on schizophrenia.

They insist that the association of cannabis potency with cannabis use disorder and psychosis can help inform public health guidelines; policies on the sale and access to cannabis; and efforts to effectively prevent, detect, and treat cannabis use disorder and schizophrenia.