Psychiatric symptoms in male cannabis users not using other illicit drugs

Alfonso Troisi, Augusto Pasini, Michele Saracco, Gianfranco Spalletta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. To assess the prevalence of DSM-III-R axes I and II disorders and the severity of psychiatric symptoms in cannabis users who did not use other illicit drugs. Design. Cross-sectional psychiatric examination of subjects with different patterns of cannabis use: cannabis dependence, abuse and occasional use. Participants. One hundred and thirty-three cannabis users identified through random urine testing of draftees to the Italian army and interviewed after 2-5 days of abstinence from drug use. Measurements. The subjects completed the Beck Depression Inventory, the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Index and the 20-item revised Toronto Alexithymia Scale and were then interviewed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R. Findings. The prevalence of co-morbid psychiatric disorders varied with the pattern of cannabis use: 83% of subjects with DSM-III-R cannabis dependence, 46% of those with DSM-III-R cannabis abuse and 29% of occasional users received at least one DSM-III-R psychiatric diagnosis. The severity of depressive, anxious and alexithymic symptoms increased progressively with the degree of involvement with cannabis. Conclusions. In this sample of young men, the risk of associated psychiatric disabilities varied with the pattern of cannabis use. Chronic use of cannabis was associated with a high prevalence of co-morbid psychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-492
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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