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Indian J Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;53(1):13-20. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.75552.

Are the effects of cannabis dependence on glucose metabolism similar to schizophrenia? An FDG PET understanding.

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Department of Psychiatry, G. S. Medical College and King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India.



Cannabis has been associated with transient psychotic states; however, the causal relationship between cannabis and schizophrenia continues to remain a matter of debate. Epidemiological and some biological studies hint at cannabis being an independent risk factor for schizophrenia; this has not been definitively proved.


We aimed to understand the patterns of glucose uptake in important brain regions among individuals with cannabis dependence and schizophrenia. Furthermore, we compared the interregional metabolic rates in pertinent neural circuits among individuals with cannabis dependence, schizophrenia and normal controls.


This is a case-control cross-sectional study that was carried out by a general psychiatry department in collaboration with a nuclear diagnosis unit.


Male volunteers with cannabis dependence, schizophrenia and normal controls underwent FDG PET scanning. Glucose uptakes in pre-selected regions of interest were compared using MANOVA. Finally, Chow tests were used to compare interregional metabolic relationships in the mesocortical and cortical-subcortical-cerebellum circuits.


Significant differences (P<0.05) were noted among individuals with cannabis dependence and schizophrenia in the medial and lateral temporal regions. When the neural circuits were compared, significant interregional differences (P<0.05) were noted between individuals with cannabis dependence and normal controls. However, among individuals with cannabis dependence and schizophrenia, no significant differences (P>0.05) were noted in these patterns.


Our findings suggest that cannabis dependence can alter interregional relationships in a manner similar to schizophrenia. This indicates that cannabis could potentially play a role in the development of psychosis by altering neural circuits.


Cannabis dependence; FDG PET; interregional relationships; schizophrenia

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