Neuropsychological deficits associated with cannabis use in young adults

Jon E. Grant, Samuel R. Chamberlain, Liana Schreiber, Brian L. Odlaug

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Background: Cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance and has been associated with cognitive impairment. It is unclear whether such impairment can occur in the absence of potential confounding influences of co-morbid axis-I disorders and use of other illicit substances. Method: Young adult volunteers (18-29 years) were recruited from the general community on the basis of having no axis-I disorders or history of illicit substance use other than cannabis use. Subjects were then grouped according to presence or absence of cannabis use (>1 time/week over past 12 months). Cognition was compared between groups using selected paradigms from the CANTAB. Results: Cannabis users (N=16) and controls (N=214) did not differ significantly on salient demographic characteristics. Compared to controls, cannabis users showed significant impairments on quality of decision-making (Cambridge Gamble task), and executive planning (One Touch Stockings of Cambridge task). Response inhibition, spatial working memory, and sustained attention were intact. Conclusions: This study identified cognitive deficits in cannabis users even in the absence of axis-I disorders and a history of using other illicit drugs. Future work should use longitudinal designs to track whether these deficits predate cannabis use or are due to its consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-162
Number of pages4
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by a Center for Excellence in Gambling Research grant by the Institute for Responsible Gaming to Dr. Grant. The funding agency had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Dr. Grant has received research grants from National Institute on Drug Abuse ( RC1-DA028279-01 ) and from Forest Pharmaceuticals . Dr. Chamberlain has consulted for Cambridge Cognition, P1Vital, and Shire Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Odlaug has received honoraria from Oxford University Press.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Addiction
  • Cannabis
  • Cognition
  • Impulsivity


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