Schizophrenia

Health written question – answered on 21st July 2004.

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Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what assessment he has made of (a) research linking the regular consumption of cannabis with schizophrenia and (b) the effects of cannabis use on schizophrenia sufferers; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if his Department will commission further research into (a) the possible link between the regular smoking of cannabis with schizophrenia and (b) the effects of cannabis on schizophrenia sufferers; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

A number of recent Department funded policy research projects have been completed that have contributed to informing the Department's assessment on the scale and impact of the use of cannabis in those with mental health problems.

The Department has kept under review the national and international epidemiological and other research on these topics and has obtained expert advice on interpreting the research base.

The Department has no plans at present to commission further research into the possible link between the regular smoking of cannabis with schizophrenia. The Department has recently commissioned, jointly with the Medical Research Council, a multi-site, randomised controlled trial, "Evaluating a Psychological Intervention for clients with Schizophrenia and Co-morbid Substance Abuse". The Department is also currently considering commissioning additional work in this area.

The Department also monitors national and international research and has a range of expert advisers to inform policy.

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