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Tolerance and cross-tolerance to neurocognitive effects of THC and alcohol in heavy cannabis users.

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.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. j.ramaekers@maastrichtuniversity.nl

    , , , ,

    Source

    Psychopharmacology 214:2 2011 Mar pg 391-401

    MeSH

    Administration, Inhalation
    Administration, Oral
    Adult
    Alcohol Drinking
    Attention
    Central Nervous System Depressants
    Cognition
    Double-Blind Method
    Dronabinol
    Drug Tolerance
    Ethanol
    Executive Function
    Female
    Humans
    Impulsive Behavior
    Male
    Marijuana Abuse
    Marijuana Smoking
    Motor Activity
    Neuropsychological Tests
    Placebo Effect
    Psychotropic Drugs
    Time Factors
    Young Adult

    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 -