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Niacin Flushing as Marker of Cannabis Effects on Arachidonic Acid Pathways in Schizophrenia

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
University of Jena Identifier:
First received: September 13, 2006
Last updated: October 11, 2006
Last verified: September 2006

Increasing evidence suggests modulating effects of cannabinoids on time of onset, severity, and outcome of schizophrenia. Efforts to discover the underlying pathomechanism have led to the assumption of gene x environment interactions including premorbid genetical vulnerability and worsening effects of continuing cannabis use. For a main characteristic of psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is its affinity to biological membranes, which are known to be disturbed in schizophrenia patients and genetic high-risk populations.

Here we assess an hypothesised association between premorbid lipid disturbance and metabolic effects of external cannabinoids in schizophrenia.

Intensity of niacin (methylnicotinate) skin flushing, indicating disturbed prostaglandin-mediated processes, is used as peripheral marker of lipid-arachidonic acid pathways and investigated in cannabis consuming and non-consuming schizophrenia patients and in healthy controls. Methylnicotinate is applied in three concentrations onto the forearm skin. Flush response is assessed in three minute intervals over 15 min using optical reflection spectroscopy.

Schizophrenia Cannabis Abuse

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Defined Population
Observational Model: Natural History
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: First Detailed Study on Effects of Long Term Regular Cannabis Use on Arachidonic Acid-Prostaglandine Pathways in Schizophrenia

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Jena:

Estimated Enrollment: 100
Study Start Date: February 2004
Estimated Study Completion Date: June 2005
  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 40 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:


  • acutely ill
  • consecutively admitted
  • diagnosis of schizophrenia according to DSM-IV criteria for paranoide schizophrenia.
  • not treated or treated with atypical neuroleptic drugs
  • cannabis use on a regular basis (≥ 0,5 g/d, at least 3 month) prior to admission or
  • never use of cannabis apart from unique trials
  • no use of any other drug or alcohol on a regular basis.


  • healthy volunteers recruited by newspaper advertisement
  • cannabis user (duration and dose of cannabis use as in patients)or
  • no cannabis experience at all

All cannabis consuming participants:

  • positive for cannabinoids in urine test at the time of niacin testing

Exclusion Criteria:


  • current psychiatric diagnosis or psychiatric personal or family history.

All individuals:

  • any current or history of skin disorders (eczema, atopical dermatitis, psoriasis)
  • recent treatment with steroids or non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (e.g. acetylsalicylic acid)
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00376233

University of Jena, Department of Psychiatry
Jena, Thueringen, Germany, D-07743
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Jena
Study Director: Heinrich Sauer, PhD University of Jena
  More Information

Additional Information: Identifier: NCT00376233     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: SMCANNIACIN
Study First Received: September 13, 2006
Last Updated: October 11, 2006

Keywords provided by University of Jena:
Arachidonic Acid,

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Marijuana Abuse
Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
Mental Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders processed this record on August 22, 2017