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Cannabis-related psychosis: Presentation and effect of abstinence

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Author(s): Kulhalli Vani | Isaac Mohan | Murthy Pratima

Journal: Indian Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN 0019-5545

Volume: 49;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 256;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Cannabis | drug-induced psychoses | psychoses

ABSTRACT
Background: The correlation between cannabis and negative mental health outcomes has been unequivocally established. Nevertheless, there is still a great need to research different dimensions of cannabis-related disorders, among which the study of cannabis-related psychosis is very important. There is a dearth of research regarding phenomenology and effect of abstinence, particularly from India. This study attempts to research the clinical presentation of cannabis-related psychosis and effect of abstinence. Aim: The aim of the present study was to document the clinical presentation of cannabis-related psychosis at presentation and after 7 days′ abstinence from cannabis. Materials and Methods: Subjects with psychosis following cannabis use without any other prior or concurrent psychiatric disorder presenting to the outpatient department of a large tertiary care hospital were consecutively recruited for study. They were observed in a drug-free, protected environment for 7 days, during which clinical features were recorded using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS). Results: Twenty male subjects were recruited and phenomenology was evaluated on the BPRS. Items with highest frequencies were unusual thought content (100%), excitement (75%), grandiosity (75%), hallucinatory behavior (70%) and uncooperativeness (65%). The least common symptoms were anxiety (5%), guilt feeling (5%), depressive mood (10%), motor retardation (10%) and blunted affect (30%). Nine subjects (45%) presented with cognitive dysfunction. Affective psychosis was the predominant diagnosis. At the end of 1 week of abstinence from cannabis, there was a significant decrease in scores. Significant improvement was observed in cognitive dysfunction, conceptual disorganization, grandiosity, tension, hostility, hallucinatory behavior and excitement. Conclusions: Cannabis-related psychosis presented with a predominantly affective psychosis and prominent thought disorder, excitement and violence. All subjects showed improvement in symptoms with abstinence from cannabis. A small heterogeneous sample and short duration of observation were the important limitations of this study.
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