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Cannabis Use Disorder Boosts Noncompliance With Schizophrenia Medication

November 18, 2020

Cannabis use disorder significantly raises the risk of medication noncompliance among inpatients with schizophrenia, according to a study published online in Schizophrenia Research.

“Medication compliance is a challenge among schizophrenia patients,” researchers wrote, “which has a significant adverse impact on the course of illness.” 

Among more than 1 million US adults with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders who were receiving inpatient care, the retrospective study found a 26% medication noncompliance rate.

Significant Rise in Cannabis Use Among US Adults With Depression

Both unadjusted and adjusted analyses identified a significant association between comorbid cannabis use disorder and medication noncompliance. Among patients with cannabis use disorder, odds ratios for medication noncompliance were 1.49 unadjusted and 1.38 after adjusting for covariates, according to the study.

Comorbid cannabis use disorder occurred in 62.4% of young adult patients in the study, 80.5% of male patients, 54.1% of African American patients, and 48.6% of patients from families with low incomes. 

“In addition to case management, an integrated treatment model to address both substance use disorders and psychosis will translate into better long-term outcomes in schizophrenia patients,” researchers advised.

—Jolynn Tumolo


Patel RS, Sreeram V, Vadukapuram R, Baweja R. Do cannabis use disorders increase medication non-compliance in schizophrenia?: United States Nationwide inpatient cross-sectional study. Schizophrenia Research. 2020 November 9;[Epub ahead of print].

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