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Clinical characteristics of synthetic cannabinoid-induced psychosis in relation to schizophrenia: a single-center cross-sectional analysis of concurrently hospitalized patients

Authors Altintas M, Inanc L, Akcay Oruc G, Arpacioglu S, Gulec H

Received 2 March 2016

Accepted for publication 20 June 2016

Published 2 August 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1893—1900

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S107622

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Prof. Dr. Roumen Kirov

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Merih Altintas,1 Leman Inanc,2 Gamze Akcay Oruc,1 Selim Arpacioglu,1 Huseyin Gulec1

1Department of Psychiatry, Erenköy Mental and Neurological Diseases Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, 2Department of Psychiatry, Dr Cevdet Aykan Mental Health and Diseases Hospital, Tokat, Turkey


Background: This study aimed to evaluate synthetic cannabinoid (SC)-induced psychosis in terms of patient profile and clinical characteristics with reference to concurrently hospitalized schizophrenic patients.
Methods: A total of 81 male patients diagnosed with psychotic disorder induced by the use of SCs (n=50; mean (standard deviation [SD]) age: 25.9 (5.5) years) or with schizophrenia (n=31, mean (SD) age: 42.9 (11.6) years) based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, diagnosis criteria who were concurrently hospitalized at Erenköy Mental and Neurological Diseases Training and Research Hospital were included in this cross-sectional study. Data on sociodemographic characteristics, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Frontal Assessment Battery (FAB), Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) were recorded in all the patients.
Results: Mean (SD) age at disease onset in SC-induced psychosis patients was 22.3 (5.6) years; 26.0% had suicidal ideation and 58.4% were hospitalized involuntarily. Marijuana was the most common first used substance (72.0%), and solitary use of SC was noted in 38.0% of patients. SC-induced psychosis patients had similar PANSS positive, BPRS, HRSD, and FAB scores and significantly lower PANSS negative scores (18.0 [6.5] vs 22.3 [6.0], P=0.004) than patients with schizophrenia, while they had similar HAM-A scores (17.8 [10.3] vs 21.6 [5.5], P=0.085) as young schizophrenics. Age at onset for SC (r=0.364, P=0.05) or substance (r=0.395, P=0.01) use was correlated positively with total FAB scores.
Conclusion: In conclusion, our findings revealed SC-induced psychosis to influence young individuals and be associated with remarkable rates of suicidal ideation and involuntary hospitalization as well as similar clinical picture with schizophrenia in terms of PANSS positive, BPRS, HRSD, HAM-A, and FAB scores. Younger age at onset was associated with poorer frontal lobe functions overall, regardless of the type of substance, and with poorer inhibitory control and programming performance in case of SC use.

Keywords: synthetic cannabinoid, psychosis, schizophrenia, frontal lobe, cognition, psychotogenic, bonzai

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