In this episode, Dr Alexander Denissoff talks about his recent research into the potential associations between cannabis use and later life bipolar disorder. He discusses the basis for hypotheses that link cannabis and bipolar disorder, outlining what the Northern Finland Birth Cohort is and how it was used in this study.

“It’s an ongoing birth cohort which included 99% of all live births in the two northern-most provinces in Finland between July 1985 and June 1986 and originally included 9,432 live born children. And 73.8% of the participants originally included in the cohort were included in this study…. It’s an exceptional dataset considering the generalisability of the results to the general population”

Dr Denissoff talks about his finding that associations between cannabis use and bipolar disorder did not persist once other factors were accounted for.

“The association attenuated to non-significant after adjusting to frequent alcohol intoxications, illicit drug use and daily smoking. But even if the association was not seen as independent of other substances, early cannabis use can nevertheless be thought of as a signal of a potential adverse mental health trajectory.”

Original research article: Is Early Exposure to Cannabis Associated with Bipolar disorder? Results from a Finnish Birth-Cohort Study. By Alexander Denissoff and colleagues. Published in Addiction (2022)


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