Cannabis psychosis, gender matters

Ian Hamilton (Health Sciences, University of York, York, United Kingdom)
Paul Galdas (Health Sciences, University of York, York, United Kingdom)
Holly Essex (Health Sciences, University of York, York, United Kingdom)

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Publication date: 17 August 2015



The purpose of this paper is to draw together key literature and analyses of data on admissions for cannabis psychosis in National Health Service hospitals in England (extracted from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)) to highlight what is known about gender differences in cannabis psychosis and point towards suggestions for improving gender-sensitive treatment and future research.


Analysis of British Crime Survey data and HES data were used in combination with data from previously published epidemiological studies to compare gender differences.


Male cannabis users outnumber female users by 2:1, a similar gender ratio is found for those admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or psychosis. However this ratio increases significantly for those admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of cannabis psychosis, with males outnumbering females by 4:1.

Research limitations/implications

Consistent patterns in gender ratios for people admitted to hospital with cannabis psychosis over a period of 11 years are reported, it is not clear why this gender difference persists but it warrants further investigation which would be aided by improved gender recording at a systemic level.

Practical implications

This review brings into focus the marked gender differences in cannabis psychosis. Attending to gender is important for research and treatment with the aim of improving understanding and providing gender-sensitive services.


This paper adds to the literature on gender differences in cannabis psychosis.



Hamilton, I., Galdas, P. and Essex, H. (2015), "Cannabis psychosis, gender matters", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 153-162.

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