Cognitive Function in Individuals with Psychosis: Moderation by Adolescent Cannabis Use

Rebecca C. Hanna, Alexandra Shalvoy, C. Munro Cullum, Elena I. Ivleva, Matcheri Keshavan, Godfrey Pearlson, S. Kristian Hill, John A. Sweeney, Carol A. Tamminga, Subroto Ghose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Prior cannabis use, compared to nonuse, is reported to be associated with less cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. The age of cannabis use and the persistent influence of cannabis use on cognitive function has not been examined across the psychosis dimension. Ninety-seven volunteers with psychosis (schizophrenia, schizoaffective, or bipolar psychosis) and 64 controls were recruited at the Dallas site of the Bipolar-Schizophrenia Network on Intermediate Phenotypes consortium. Cannabis use history obtained in a semi-structured manner was used to categorize subjects into nonusers, adolescent-onset users, and late-onset users. The a priori hypothesis tested was that individuals with psychosis and a history of adolescent cannabis use (ACU) would have better global neuropsychological performance, as measured by the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS) battery, compared to those with psychosis and no cannabis use history. BACS Composite scores were significantly higher in individuals with psychosis with ACU compared to individuals with psychosis and no prior cannabis use. In subgroup analyses, ACU influenced global cognition in the schizophrenia/schizoaffective (SCZ) subgroup but not the bipolar psychosis subgroup. Exploratory analyses within the SCZ group, suggest that ACU was associated with better performance in specific domains compared to non-ACU groups. There are distinct associations between age of cannabis use and neuropsychological function across psychotic illnesses. Specifically, ACU is associated with better cognitive function in SCZ but not bipolar psychosis. This age-dependent and diagnosis-specific influence of cannabis may need to be factored into the design of future cognitive studies in SCZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1496-1503
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • adolescence
  • bipolar
  • marijuana
  • neuropsychology
  • schizoaffective
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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