Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26544611
J Affect Disord 2016 Jan;190:286-293
OBJECTIVE: Cannabis use disorders (CUD) may influence the course of bipolar disorder (BD), but key confounding factors such as tobacco smoking have not been adequately addressed. This study examined whether CUD was associated with a more severe illness course in tobacco smoking BD patients.
METHODS: A sample of French and Norwegian tobacco smoking patients with BD I and II (N=642) was investigated. DSM-IV diagnoses and other characteristics were obtained through personal interviews using structured questionnaires. The association between CUD and illness course was assessed in regression analyses.
RESULTS: In bivariate analyses, CUD was associated with earlier BD onset, higher frequency of manic (in BD I) and depressive episodes and hospitalizations per illness year, and a higher occurrence of psychotic episodes. After controlling for potential confounders, the relationships with earlier BD onset (B=-5.60 95% CI=-7.65 to -3.64), and increased rates of manic episodes (OR=1.93, 95% CI: 1.15 to 3.23) and hospitalizations (OR=2.93, 95% CI: 1.85 to 4.64) remained statistically significant.
LIMITATIONS: Despite the multivariate approach, differences between the two samples may lead to spurious findings related to hidden confounders. Substance use and mood episode information was collected retrospectively, and potential birth cohort effects could not be controlled for.
CONCLUSION: Studies have found associations between tobacco smoking and poorer outcomes in BD. In this study on tobacco smoking BD patients we report an association between CUD and illness severity, suggesting that CUD exacerbates the disease evolution independently of tobacco smoking. Specific treatment and prevention programs addressing CUD in BD patients are warranted.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26544611