Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-16

Cannabis and psychosis: Neurobiology


1 Department of Psychiatry, Elgin Early Intervention Program for Psychosis, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada; Mental Health Resource Foundation, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, St. George, Toronto, Canada
3 Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
4 Lawson Health Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Amresh Shrivastava
Department of Psychiatry, Western University, London, Ontario, Regional Mental Health Care, 467 Sunset Drive, St Thomas, N5H 3V9, Canada

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.124708

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Cannabis is a known risk factor for schizophrenia, although the exact neurobiological process through which the effects on psychosis occur is not well-understood. In this review, we attempt to develop and discuss a possible pathway for the development of psychosis. We examine the neurobiological changes due to cannabis to see if these changes are similar to those seen in schizophrenic patients the findings show similarities; however, these mere similarities cannot establish a 'cause-effect' relationship as a number of people with similar changes do not develop schizophrenia. Therefore, the 'transition-to-psychosis' due to cannabis, despite being a strong risk factor, remains uncertain based upon neurobiological changes. It appears that other multiple factors might be involved in these processes which are beyond neurobiological factors. Major advances have been made in understanding the underpinning of marijuana dependence, and the role of the cannabinoid system, which is a major area for targeting medications to treat marijuana withdrawal and dependence, as well as other addictions is of now, it is clear that some of the similarities in the neurobiology of cannabis and schizophrenia may indicate a mechanism for the development of psychosis, but its trajectories are undetermined.



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