Childhood Trauma Linked To Psychotic Symptoms In Young Cannabis Users

Childhood trauma may increase the chance of young people experiencing psychotic symptoms when using cannabis, research undertaken at the University of Queensland found.

UQ School of Psychology Honorary Fellow, Dr. Molly Carlyle said childhood trauma was a major factor in cannabis use problems and psychosis in young people, reported

"Our research found cannabis use was associated with more psychotic-like experiences, and this association was stronger for people with more experiences of childhood trauma," Carlyle said.

The research team analyzed responses from 2,630 young people about their marijuana use, history of childhood trauma, psychotic-like experiences and subjective effects such as euphoria, dysphoria or paranoia when using cannabis. Participants were recruited from across Australia.

The trial tested a new web-based treatment for young people aged 16-25 and addressed the role of trauma as a risk factor for psychotic experiences.

The questions were part of a larger randomized-controlled trial led by Professor Leanne Hides from UQ's School of Psychology.

“Psychotic experiences can include symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations, which increase the risk of substance use, depressive or anxiety disorders and psychotic disorders,” Hides said.

“Access to effective web-based early interventions is increasingly important and could reduce risk in young people,” Hides concluded.

Photo Courtesy of Lelen Ruete 

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