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Drug induced psychotic episodes.

Degenhardt L, Boxburgh A, McKetin R. 2007. Hospital separations for cannabis and methamphetamine related psychotic episodes in Australia. MJA 186:7;342-5.

There is good evidence of significant association between cannabis use and the risk of meeting criteria for schizophrenia. This does not imply that cannabis use causes schizophrenia in people who would otherwise not have developed it. There is also good evidence for high doses of cannabis to trigger a short lived psychotic episode.

This study presents population based evidence on trends in hospital separations where cannabis or methamphetamine was noted as the primary reason for the episode of care and where the separation was primarily for a psychotic episode.

The number of separations due to drug induced psychosis among those aged 10-49 years increased from 55.5 per million population in 1993 to 253.1 per million in 2004. This increase was most marked in the older age groups, with amphetamine induced psychosis accounting for the largest proportion. The numbers of cannabis induced psychosis were relatively stable.

Hospitalisations for amphetamine users were highest among the older age groups which may be due to the higher rates of injecting and of crystalline methamphetamine use.

Although the link between cannabis and psychotic symptoms is understandable, amphetamine use seems to have a higher risk of psychotic symptoms requiring hospital treatment and represents a risk for more users in all age groups.

Anne Cowper

PO Box 45, Concord West NSW 2138

Email ajmh@nhaa.org.au
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Article Details
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Author:Cowper, Anne
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 22, 2007
Words:244
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