PsyVenture is a research study that aims to adapt the personality-targeted intervention named PreVenture, to prevent cannabis use in youth at-risk for experiencing psychosis from cannabis.
Persistent psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) are a psychological risk marker for psychosis and indicate particular sensitivity to cannabis-induced psychotic experiences. The aim is to develop an intervention with input from youth, followed by a pilot study to evaluate the impact of the intervention on cannabis use in youth who report psychotic like experiences.
Previous studies conducted at the Venture Lab have demonstrated that cognitive behavioural interventions targeting common neurocognitive risk factors for psychiatric and substance use disorders are highly effective at reducing substance use/misuse and externalizing/internalizing problems in high-risk youth.
Our research involves three phases. The first step is to conduct focus groups with youth at high and low risk for cannabis-induced psychosis, in order to explore the internal and external triggers for both PLEs and cannabis use.
Secondly, a pilot study will recruit adolescents between 13 and 17 years old who report regular cannabis use (at least twice a month) and PLEs to test the longer-term outcomes of the PreVenture prevention approach on clinically significant measures of cannabis use in a pre and post test design over 4 months. The third phase of our study will involve focus groups with key stakeholders in schools and pediatric clinics in order to develop a feasible implementation program based on the results acquired in the previous phases. Participant's experiences of anxiety, depression, coping mechanisms, PLEs will be assessed to examine the impact of the intervention on pre-established proximal indicators of risk.