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Tolerance and cross-tolerance to neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users.
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2011; 214(2):391-401P

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Previous research has shown that heavy cannabis users develop tolerance to the impairing effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on neurocognitive functions. Animal studies suggest that chronic cannabis consumption may also produce cross-tolerance for the impairing effects of alcohol, but supportive data in humans is scarce.

PURPOSE

The present study was designed to assess tolerance and cross-tolerance to the neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users.

METHODS

Twenty-one heavy cannabis users participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, three-way study. Subjects underwent three alcohol-dosing conditions that were designed to achieve a steady blood alcohol concentration of about 0, 0.5, and 0.7 mg/ml during a 5-h time window. In addition, subjects smoked a THC cigarette (400 μg/kg) at 3 h post-onset of alcohol dosing during every alcohol condition. Performance tests were conducted repeatedly between 0 and 7 h after onset of drinking and included measures of perceptual motor control (critical tracking task), dual task processing (divided-attention task), motor inhibition (stop-signal task), and cognition (Tower of London).

RESULTS

Alcohol significantly impaired critical tracking, divided attention, and stop-signal performance. THC generally did not affect task performance. However, combined effects of THC and alcohol on divided attention were bigger than those by alcohol alone.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the present study generally confirms that heavy cannabis users develop tolerance to the impairing effects of THC on neurocognitive task performance. Yet, heavy cannabis users did not develop cross-tolerance to the impairing effects of alcohol, and the presence of the latter even selectively potentiated THC effects on measures of divided attention.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. j.ramaekers@maastrichtuniversity.nlNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Controlled Clinical Trial
Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

21049267

Citation

Ramaekers, Johannes G., et al. "Tolerance and Cross-tolerance to Neurocognitive Effects of THC and Alcohol in Heavy Cannabis Users." Psychopharmacology, vol. 214, no. 2, 2011, pp. 391-401.
Ramaekers JG, Theunissen EL, de Brouwer M, et al. Tolerance and cross-tolerance to neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011;214(2):391-401.
Ramaekers, J. G., Theunissen, E. L., de Brouwer, M., Toennes, S. W., Moeller, M. R., & Kauert, G. (2011). Tolerance and cross-tolerance to neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users. Psychopharmacology, 214(2), pp. 391-401. doi:10.1007/s00213-010-2042-1.
Ramaekers JG, et al. Tolerance and Cross-tolerance to Neurocognitive Effects of THC and Alcohol in Heavy Cannabis Users. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011;214(2):391-401. PubMed PMID: 21049267.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Tolerance and cross-tolerance to neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users. AU - Ramaekers,Johannes G, AU - Theunissen,Eef L, AU - de Brouwer,Marjolein, AU - Toennes,Stefan W, AU - Moeller,Manfred R, AU - Kauert,Gerhold, Y1 - 2010/10/30/ PY - 2010/07/13/received PY - 2010/10/01/accepted PY - 2010/11/5/entrez PY - 2010/11/5/pubmed PY - 2011/6/29/medline SP - 391 EP - 401 JF - Psychopharmacology JO - Psychopharmacology (Berl.) VL - 214 IS - 2 N2 - INTRODUCTION: Previous research has shown that heavy cannabis users develop tolerance to the impairing effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on neurocognitive functions. Animal studies suggest that chronic cannabis consumption may also produce cross-tolerance for the impairing effects of alcohol, but supportive data in humans is scarce. PURPOSE: The present study was designed to assess tolerance and cross-tolerance to the neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users. METHODS: Twenty-one heavy cannabis users participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, three-way study. Subjects underwent three alcohol-dosing conditions that were designed to achieve a steady blood alcohol concentration of about 0, 0.5, and 0.7 mg/ml during a 5-h time window. In addition, subjects smoked a THC cigarette (400 μg/kg) at 3 h post-onset of alcohol dosing during every alcohol condition. Performance tests were conducted repeatedly between 0 and 7 h after onset of drinking and included measures of perceptual motor control (critical tracking task), dual task processing (divided-attention task), motor inhibition (stop-signal task), and cognition (Tower of London). RESULTS: Alcohol significantly impaired critical tracking, divided attention, and stop-signal performance. THC generally did not affect task performance. However, combined effects of THC and alcohol on divided attention were bigger than those by alcohol alone. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the present study generally confirms that heavy cannabis users develop tolerance to the impairing effects of THC on neurocognitive task performance. Yet, heavy cannabis users did not develop cross-tolerance to the impairing effects of alcohol, and the presence of the latter even selectively potentiated THC effects on measures of divided attention. SN - 1432-2072 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/21049267/Tolerance_and_cross_tolerance_to_neurocognitive_effects_of_THC_and_alcohol_in_heavy_cannabis_users_ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00213-010-2042-1 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -