Cannabis use is associated with lower retention in methadone maintenance treatment, but not among schizophrenic- and other chronically psychotic patients

Ilan Volkov, Shaul Schreiber, Miriam Adelson, Stacy Shoshan, Einat Peles*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The findings of studies on cannabis use and retention in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) are inconsistent. Objectives: To study cannabis use and its relationship to patients’ outcomes in MMT with/without lifetime DSM-IV-TR schizophrenia/chronic-psychosis diagnosis. Methods: Since June 1993, 877 patients with available lifetime DSM-IV-TR psychiatric diagnosis were followed-up until December 2017. Urine drug screens on admission and after one year were analyzed. Results: Lifetime schizophrenia/psychosis was diagnosed in 50 (5.7%) patients. They did not differ from the other 827 by admission cannabis use (18.0% vs. 12.3%) and had similar 1-year retention rates (76.0% vs.77.0%, respectively). Cumulative retention of the cohort excluding schizophrenia/chronic-psychosis was longer for the 667 patients who did not use cannabis after 1-year (9.1 years, 95%CI 8.4-9.9) compared with the 118 cannabis-users after 1-year (6.0 years, 95% CI 4.8-7.2, p<.001). Among the schizophrenia/chronic-psychosis group, cannabis was not related to retention (38 non-users, 7.9 years 95%CI 5.2-10.5 vs. 9 cannabis-users, 9.9 years, 95% CI 3.8-16.0, p=.5). Survival was shorter for the 41 schizophrenia/chronic-psychosis non-users (15.2 years, 95% CI 12.8-17.7) than for the 719 non-schizophrenia/chronic-psychosis non-users (18.5, 95%CI 17.9-19.2, p = 0.009). However, survival was comparable among the 9 cannabis-users with schizophrenia/chronic-psychosis (20.1, 95% CI 16.2-24.1) and 101 other cohort users (18.6, 95% CI 16.9-20.4). Conclusions: Cannabis use is associated with decreased retention among MMT patients, however the effects of cannabis on schizophrenia/psychosis patients on retention and survival cannot be verified due to the small sample size and the limited data regarding chronicity of cannabis use. Future larger, prospective studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Schizophrenia/psychosis
  • cannabis
  • methadone maintenance treatment
  • retention
  • survival

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