Stronger evidence is needed before accepting that cannabis plays an important role in the aetiology of schizophrenia in the population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Schizophrenia is a debilitating but poorly understood condition with very few known modifiable risk factors. Cannabis use can acutely induce psychotic experiences, but its causal relationship to schizophrenia is less well understood. Longitudinal cohort studies suggest that the association between cannabis and psychotic outcomes is not due to chance or reverse causation. However, the association could be due to bias or residual confounding. Methods that can test alternative explanations in greater depth are required. This is especially important as ecological studies have found little association between the increase in cannabis use over recent decades and incidence of psychotic disorders; public health models suggest that cannabis use may need to be treated and prevented in many thousands of users in order to prevent one case of schizophrenia. We believe that, while such uncertainty exists, there is a scientific duty to continue to investigate the role of cannabis in the aetiology of schizophrenia and that the policy case for considering cannabis exposure as a critical target for preventing schizophrenia is yet to be made. However, due to other evidence of the harms of cannabis use, this should not affect the public health message that cannabis can be harmful and that cannabis dependence should be prevented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2
JournalF1000 medicine reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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