Negative symptoms as key features of depression among cannabis users: a preliminary report.
Bersani G., Bersani FS., Caroti E., Russo P., Albano G., Valeriani G., Imperatori C., Minichino A., Manuali G., Corazza O.
OBJECTIVE: Cannabis use is frequent among depressed patients and may lead to the so-called "amotivational syndrome", which combines symptoms of affective flattening and loss of emotional reactivity (i.e. the so-called "negative" symptomatology). The aim of this study was to investigate the negative symptomatology in depressed patients with concomitant cannabis use disorders (CUDs) in comparison with depressed patients without CUDs. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Fifty-one patients with a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and concomitant CUD and fifty-one MDD patients were enrolled in the study. The 21-Item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the negative symptoms subscales of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) were used to assess depressive and negative symptomatology. RESULTS: Patients with cannabis use disorders presented significantly more severe negative symptoms in comparison with patients without cannabis use (15.18 ± 2.25 vs 13.75 ± 2.44; t100 = 3.25 p = 0.002). DISCUSSION: A deeper knowledge of the "negative" psychopathological profile of MDD patients who use cannabis may lead to novel etiopathogenetic models of MDD and to more appropriate treatment approaches.