Cannabis abuse is associated with better emotional memory in schizophrenia: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Josiane Bourque, Adrianna Mendrek, Myriam Durand, Nadia Lakis, Olivier Lipp, Emmanuel Stip, Pierre Lalonde, Sylvain Grignon, Stéphane Potvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


In schizophrenia cannabis abuse/dependence is associated with poor compliance and psychotic relapse. Despite this, the reasons for cannabis abuse remain elusive, but emotions may play a critical role in this comorbidity. Accordingly, we performed a functional magnetic resonance imaging study of emotional memory in schizophrenia patients with cannabis abuse (dual-diagnosis, DD). Participants comprised 14 DD patients, 14 non-abusing schizophrenia patients (SCZ), and 21 healthy controls (HC) who had to recognize positive and negative pictures while being scanned. Recognition of positive and negative emotions was prominently impaired in SCZ patients, relative to HC, while differences between DD and HC were smaller. For positive and negative stimuli, we observed significant activations in frontal, limbic, temporal and occipital regions in HC; in frontal, limbic and temporal regions in DD; and in temporal, parietal, limbic and occipital regions in the SCZ group. Our results suggest that emotional memory and prefrontal lobe functioning are preserved in DD relative to SCZ patients. These results are consistent with previous findings showing that cannabis abuse is associated with fewer negative symptoms and better cognitive functioning in schizophrenia. Longitudinal studies will need to determine whether the relative preservation of emotional memory is primary or secondary to cannabis abuse in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-32
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 30 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cannabis
  • Emotional memory
  • Functional imaging
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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