Meta-analysis of neurocognition in young psychosis patients with current cannabis use

Sophia E.R. Bogaty, Rico S.C. Lee, Ian B. Hickie, Daniel F. Hermens

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Adult psychosis patients (i.e. over the age of 25 years) who are also lifetime cannabis users (CANN±) appear to exhibit superior cognition compared to never-using patients (CANN-). The objective of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the cognitive differences between CANN- and patients who currently use cannabis (CANN+) (i.e. during the CANN± patients’ cannabis-using stage). Specifically, focusing on young patients under the age of 25 years, the typical stage of both psychosis- and cannabis-onset. Method: Of the 308 studies identified through database searches and secondary referencing, 14 compared neurocognition of CANN+ and CANN- in young people with psychotic disorders (mean age between 15 and 45 years). Effect sizes were extracted using neurocognitive test performance between CANN+ and CANN- and random effects modelling was conducted on pooled ES and moderator analyses. Results: CANN+ performed worse on several cognitive domains (i.e. premorbid IQ, current IQ, verbal learning, verbal working memory, motor inhibition) compared to CANN-. The association between age and performance in CANN+ cognition was varied, with older age predictive of worse performance in processing speed, sustained attention, verbal memory, and better performance in verbal learning and very fluency. Of note, CANN+ outperformed CANN- in tests of conceptual set-shifting. Conclusion: These results are consistent with previous findings indicating that CANN+ demonstrate poorer neurocognition than CANN-; and that this is exacerbated with increasing age. Our findings demonstrate significant cognitive differences between patients with CANN+ versus CANN- even at early-onset psychosis, which could suggest a different underlying mechanism towards psychosis for cannabis users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Cognition
  • Comorbidity
  • Early-onset psychosis
  • Marijuana
  • Schizophrenia
  • Young people

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