Friday, November 9, 2018 - 11:45
cannabis

Understanding psychotic-like experiences in young cannabis users is the focus of a new study at The University of Queensland.

The research team are seeking people aged between 16 and 25 who have used cannabis at least once in the past month.

Professor Leanne Hides, from the UQ School of Psychology, said the project aims to increase the current understanding of psychotic-like experiences in young cannabis users.

“There is strong evidence linking cannabis with odd or unusual psychotic-like experiences in young people,” she said.

“Unusual experiences include odd thoughts and occurrences, like thinking people are out to get you in some way or seeing or hearing things other people can't see or hear.

“People can have these psychotic-like experiences while using cannabis or even long afterwards, so it’s a relationship we need to learn more about.”

The research team will also evaluate the results and cost-effectiveness of an online program called Keep It Real, which consists of seven modules that can be completed in two or three 30 minute sessions.

“With Keep It Real we’re trying to help young cannabis users identify if they’re at risk,” Professor Hides said.

“A pilot study found that participants who engaged in the Keep it Real program reported reductions in cannabis use, psychotic-experiences and associated distress.

“The program provides users with feedback on how many other people of a similar age and gender report psychotic experiences after ingesting cannabis.

“It helps them figure out if their experiences are similar to others, and teaches them simple ways of dealing with these experiences as well as other stressors”

Participants who complete the confidential survey will be entered into the draw to win one of ten $100 gift vouchers - full details can be found online.

Media: Professor Leanne Hides, l.hides@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3365 6398; Dani Nash, UQ Communications, dani.nash@uq.edu.au , +61 7 3346 3035, @UQhealth.