• Journal Article

Cannabis and bipolar disorder: Does quitting cannabis use during manic/mixed episode improve clinical/functional outcomes?

Citation

Zorrilla, I., Aguado, J., Haro, J. M., Barbeito, S., Lopez Zurbano, S., Ortiz, A., ... Gonzalez-Pinto, A. (2015). Cannabis and bipolar disorder: Does quitting cannabis use during manic/mixed episode improve clinical/functional outcomes? Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 131(2), 100-110. DOI: 10.1111/acps.12366

Abstract

Objective
To examine whether bipolar disorder patients who stop cannabis use during a manic/mixed episode have better clinical and functional outcomes than continued use or never use.

Method
Data from the European Mania in Bipolar Longitudinal Evaluation of Medication (EMBLEM), a 2-year prospective observational study in adults with a manic/mixed episode of bipolar disorder, was used. Three cannabis use groups were: current use (between 12-week and 24-month visits); no current but previous use (during first 12 weeks); and never use. Associations between cannabis use and outcomes were analyzed using regression models.

Results
Of 1922 patients analyzed, 6.9% were current users, 4.6% previous users, and 88.5% never users. Clinical outcomes differed between groups (P < 0.019): previous users had highest rates of remission (68.1%) and recovery (38.7%), and lowest rates of recurrence (42.1%) and relapse (29.8%). Logistic regression showed previous users had similar outcomes to never users (all P > 0.05), whereas current users had lower recovery (P = 0.004) and remission (P = 0.014), higher recurrence (P = 0.014), greater work impairment (P = 0.016), and were more likely not to be living with partner (P = 0.006) than never users.

Conclusion
Bipolar patients who stop using cannabis during manic/mixed episode have similar clinical and functional outcomes to never users, while continued use is associated with higher risk of recurrence and poorer functioning.