Front Psychol. 2021 Jul 1;12:679904. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.679904. eCollection 2021.
Aims: Chronic cannabis users show impairments on laboratory measures of decision making which reflect risk factors for initiation and continued use of cannabis. However, the differential sensitivity of these tasks to cannabis use has not been established. Moreover, studies to date have often lacked assessment of psychiatric histories and use of other illicit substances, both of which may influence decision making outcomes. The current study aimed to address these limitations by (1) including multiple types of decision making tasks, (2) implementing the Probabilistic Reversal Learning Task, a measure of decision making under uncertainty, for the first time in cannabis users, (3) including young adult cannabis users with no other psychiatric disorders, and (4) conducting urinalysis to exclude users of other illicit drugs. Methods: Thirty-three current cannabis users without comorbid psychiatric disorders and 35 cannabis non-users completed behavioral measures of decision-making (Iowa Gambling Task), reward discounting (Delay Discounting Task), choice-outcome learning (the Probabilistic Reversal Learning Task) and a questionnaire assessment of impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale). Results: Relative to non-users, cannabis users demonstrated greater preference for immediate vs. delayed rewards on the Delay Discounting Task, made fewer advantageous decisions on the Iowa Gambling Task, and endorsed greater impulsivity on the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale scales. Cannabis users and non-users showed comparable performance on the Probabilistic Reversal Learning Task. Frequency of past-month cannabis use and total years of use did not predict decision making or impulsivity. Conclusions: Young adult cannabis users demonstrated higher discounting rates and impairments in learning cost-benefit contingencies, while reversal learning was unaffected. Self-reported impulsivity was elevated as well. None of these measures correlated with current or lifetime estimates of cannabis use, arguing against a dose-relationship. Interventions that target improvement in affected components of decision making may be helpful in reducing cannabis use and relapse.
Source: ncbi 2