This study indicates that patients who continue to use cannabis following their first episode of psychosis are less likely to take their medications as prescribed and, that these patients are more likely to relapse.
The researchers suggest that interventions aimed at improving medication adherence could help to lessen the harmful effects of cannabis use in patients with psychosis.
Relapse during the first few years after an initial episode of psychosis is an important predictor of a patient’s long-term outcome. Identifying risk factors that could lead to relapse is key. Although there are many factors that can influence relapses, continued cannabis use following the onset of psychosis and not taking antipsychotic medication regularly are both seen consistently in studies as significant risks. It is important to understand the relationship between these factors in order to help patients with psychosis.
Researchers at King’s College London explored whether some of the adverse effects of continued cannabis use on risk of relapse are due to its association with poor medication adherence. They recently reported their findings in The Lancet Psychiatry.