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The role of cannabis in cognitive functioning of patients with schizophrenia.
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2009; 205(1):45-52P

Abstract

RATIONALE

Cognitive deficits are commonly found both in patients with schizophrenia (SCH) and in people with cannabis use disorders (CUD). Surprisingly, some small recent studies reported better cognitive performance in SCH patients with comorbid cannabis use disorders (SCH + CUD) compared to other SCH patients.

OBJECTIVES

The aim of the present study was to investigate the residual impact of CUD and specific patterns of consumption on cognition in a larger sample of SCH + CUD patients.

METHODS

We administered a cognitive test battery to 34 SCH and 35 currently abstinent SCH + CUD patients. We explored the association between patterns of cannabis consumption and cognitive performance. Potential confounds with influence on cognitive ability were assessed and controlled for.

RESULTS

SCH + CUD patients had poorer academic achievements and lower vocabulary scores, but they performed better in tests of verbal and working memory, visuomotor speed and executive function (p < .05). More frequent cannabis use was associated with better performance in attention and working memory tasks.

CONCLUSIONS

Although our findings might be interpreted as beneficial effect of cannabis use on cognition in patients with schizophrenia, we favorise an alternative interpretation: in our view, the better cognitive functioning of SCH + CUD patients may rather reflect a relatively lower vulnerability to psychosis compared to the SCH group. Lower vulnerability may correspond to a higher level of functioning such as cognitive ability. This conclusion is consistent with the view of cannabis playing a critical role in the manifestation of psychosis in at least some of the SCH + CUD patients.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Cologne, Kerpener Str. 62, 50924, Cologne, Germany. thomas.schnell@uk-koeln.de

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19326102

Citation

Schnell, Thomas, et al. "The Role of Cannabis in Cognitive Functioning of Patients With Schizophrenia." Psychopharmacology, vol. 205, no. 1, 2009, pp. 45-52.
Schnell T, Koethe D, Daumann J, et al. The role of cannabis in cognitive functioning of patients with schizophrenia. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009;205(1):45-52.
Schnell, T., Koethe, D., Daumann, J., & Gouzoulis-Mayfrank, E. (2009). The role of cannabis in cognitive functioning of patients with schizophrenia. Psychopharmacology, 205(1), pp. 45-52. doi:10.1007/s00213-009-1512-9.
Schnell T, et al. The Role of Cannabis in Cognitive Functioning of Patients With Schizophrenia. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009;205(1):45-52. PubMed PMID: 19326102.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The role of cannabis in cognitive functioning of patients with schizophrenia. AU - Schnell,Thomas, AU - Koethe,Dagmar, AU - Daumann,Jörg, AU - Gouzoulis-Mayfrank,Euphrosyne, Y1 - 2009/03/27/ PY - 2008/10/20/received PY - 2009/03/05/accepted PY - 2009/3/28/entrez PY - 2009/3/28/pubmed PY - 2009/9/3/medline SP - 45 EP - 52 JF - Psychopharmacology JO - Psychopharmacology (Berl.) VL - 205 IS - 1 N2 - RATIONALE: Cognitive deficits are commonly found both in patients with schizophrenia (SCH) and in people with cannabis use disorders (CUD). Surprisingly, some small recent studies reported better cognitive performance in SCH patients with comorbid cannabis use disorders (SCH + CUD) compared to other SCH patients. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the present study was to investigate the residual impact of CUD and specific patterns of consumption on cognition in a larger sample of SCH + CUD patients. METHODS: We administered a cognitive test battery to 34 SCH and 35 currently abstinent SCH + CUD patients. We explored the association between patterns of cannabis consumption and cognitive performance. Potential confounds with influence on cognitive ability were assessed and controlled for. RESULTS: SCH + CUD patients had poorer academic achievements and lower vocabulary scores, but they performed better in tests of verbal and working memory, visuomotor speed and executive function (p < .05). More frequent cannabis use was associated with better performance in attention and working memory tasks. CONCLUSIONS: Although our findings might be interpreted as beneficial effect of cannabis use on cognition in patients with schizophrenia, we favorise an alternative interpretation: in our view, the better cognitive functioning of SCH + CUD patients may rather reflect a relatively lower vulnerability to psychosis compared to the SCH group. Lower vulnerability may correspond to a higher level of functioning such as cognitive ability. This conclusion is consistent with the view of cannabis playing a critical role in the manifestation of psychosis in at least some of the SCH + CUD patients. SN - 1432-2072 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19326102/abstract/The_role_of_cannabis_in_cogni L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-009-1512-9 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -