Not all individuals who smoke cannabis report psychotic-like experiences. Given that risk factors for psychotic disorders are multifaceted, precipitating factors to psychotic-like experiences after cannabis are likely to be equally complex. Reduced neurocognitive performance is associated with both psychosis risk and cannabis use. Therefore, it is possible cognitive performance may differentiate those who report psychotic-like experiences after cannabis from those who do not. We determined whether those reporting psychotic/dysphoric experiences after cannabis had reduced neurocognitive performance compared to those reporting primarily euphoric experiences.
METHODS: Participants were recruited on the basis of responses to the cannabis high captured by the Psychosis-Dysphoric and Euphoric experiences subscales from the Cannabis Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ).
RESULTS: Compared to participants reporting primarily euphoric cannabis experiences (n = 36; 44% male; mean age (SD) = 28 (9) years), those who reported psychotic/dysphoric experiences (n = 40; 45% male; mean age (SD) = 26 (5) years) demonstrated significantly faster responses to a trial and error learning task. In the presence of distracters, those with psychotic/dysphoric experiences after cannabis made more errors on a Continuous Performance Task.
CONCLUSIONS: Those who report psychotic/dysphoric experiences after cannabis have subtle inefficiencies in their cognitive processes. The multiple factors which predict vulnerability to psychotic-like experiences after cannabis require further investigation.