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Impact of 2 Weeks of Monitored Abstinence on Cognition in Adolescent and Young Adult Cannabis Users

  • Alexander L. Wallace (a1), Natasha E. Wade (a2) and Krista M. Lisdahl (a1)

Abstract

Objectives:

Previous research suggests recovery from cannabis-related deficits in verbal learning and memory functioning after periods of cannabis abstinence in adolescents. Here, we examine how cannabis cessation affects cognitive performance over 2 weeks of monitored abstinence compared to controls in adolescents and young adults.

Methods:

Seventy-four participants (35 cannabis users) aged 16–26 ceased all cannabis, alcohol, and other illicit substance consumption for a 2-week period; abstinence was monitored via weekly urinalysis, breath, and sweat patch testing. Starting at baseline, participants completed weekly abbreviated neuropsychological batteries. Measures included tests of attention, inhibition, verbal working memory, and learning. Repeated measures assessed within and between subject effects for time and group status, while controlling for past year alcohol and nicotine use.

Results:

Cannabis users showed increased performance compared to controls on sustained attention tasks after 2 weeks of cannabis use.

Conclusions:

Deficits in attention, but not verbal learning and memory, recovered after 2 weeks of monitored abstinence. This differs from previous literature, suggesting that other cognitive domains may show signs of recovery after periods of cannabis cessation in adolescents and young adults.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Krista M. Lisdahl, 2441 East Hartford Ave, Milwaukee, WI53211, USA. E-mail: krista.medina@gmail.com

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Keywords

Impact of 2 Weeks of Monitored Abstinence on Cognition in Adolescent and Young Adult Cannabis Users

  • Alexander L. Wallace (a1), Natasha E. Wade (a2) and Krista M. Lisdahl (a1)

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