Executive function deficits in short-term abstinent cannabis users.Hum Psychopharmacol. 2008 Jul; 23(5):409-15.HP
Few cognitive tasks are adequately sensitive to show the small decrements in performance in abstinent chronic cannabis users. In this series of three experiments we set out to demonstrate a variety of tasks that are sufficiently sensitive to show differences in visual memory, verbal memory, everyday memory and executive function between controls and cannabis users.
A series of three studies explored cognitive function deficits in cannabis users (phonemic verbal fluency, visual recognition and immediate and delayed recall, and prospective memory) in short-term abstinent cannabis users. Participants were selected using snowball sampling, with cannabis users being compared to a standard control group and a tobacco-use control group.
The cannabis users, compared to both control groups, had deficits on verbal fluency, visual recognition, delayed visual recall, and short- and long-interval prospective memory. There were no differences for immediate visual recall.
These findings suggest that cannabis use leads to impaired executive function. Further research needs to explore the longer term impact of cannabis use.