Study: Occasional Cannabis Users Display Better Executive Control, Memory and Social Cognition than Nonusers

According to a new study, adolescent and young adult who occasionally consume cannabis display better executive control, memory and social cognition than those who don’t.

The study was published by the journal Psychology of Addictive Behavior, and published online by the National Institute of Health. It examined 4,658 individuals ages 14 to 21.

“Cannabis use in youth is rising and has been linked to deficits in cognitive functioning”, states the study’s abstract. “However, cognitive findings have primarily been based on small samples of users seeking treatment, and few studies have evaluated cognition in occasional cannabis users. Here, we examined 4,568 adolescents and young adults (ages 14-21 years) drawn from the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, a prospective, population-based study.”

Participants were classified as “cannabis Non-Users (n = 3,401), Occasional Users (twice per week or less; n = 940), or Frequent Users (>3 times per week; n = 227). Mixed-model analyses examined main effects of cannabis use and interactions between age and cannabis use on cognitive functioning.”

Although “Frequent Users performed worse than Non-Users on measures of executive control”, “Occasional Users exhibited better executive control, memory, and social cognition than Non-Users”.

Although “mild executive control deficits in adolescent frequent users and a relation between early cannabis initiation and cognitive performance are partially consistent with prior research, cognitive deficits were not found in other hypothesized domains in this community-based sample.”

Moreover, “occasional cannabis users displayed equivalent or even slightly better executive control, social-cognitive, and memory abilities compared with nonusers, suggesting complex relationships between cannabis use and cognition in youth.”

Researchers conclude by stating that; “Longitudinal studies with community samples are needed to identify variables affecting risk and resilience to cognitive deficits associated with cannabis.”

Click here for the full text of the study, found on the National Institute of Health’s website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.