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Acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and their combination on facial emotion recognition: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in cannabis users.

Abstract

Acute administration of the primary psychoactive constituent of cannabis, Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), impairs human facial affect recognition, implicating the endocannabinoid system in emotional processing. Another main constituent of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), has seemingly opposite functional effects on the brain. This study aimed to determine the effects of THC and CBD, both alone and in combination on emotional facial affect recognition. 48 volunteers, selected for high and low frequency of cannabis use and schizotypy, were administered, THC (8mg), CBD (16mg), THC+CBD (8mg+16mg) and placebo, by inhalation, in a 4-way, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design. They completed an emotional facial affect recognition task including fearful, angry, happy, sad, surprise and disgust faces varying in intensity from 20% to 100%. A visual analogue scale (VAS) of feeling 'stoned' was also completed. In comparison to placebo, CBD improved emotional facial affect recognition at 60% emotional intensity; THC was detrimental to the recognition of ambiguous faces of 40% intensity. The combination of THC+CBD produced no impairment. Relative to placebo, both THC alone and combined THC+CBD equally increased feelings of being 'stoned'. CBD did not influence feelings of 'stoned'. No effects of frequency of use or schizotypy were found. In conclusion, CBD improves recognition of emotional facial affect and attenuates the impairment induced by THC. This is the first human study examining the effects of different cannabinoids on emotional processing. It provides preliminary evidence that different pharmacological agents acting upon the endocannabinoid system can both improve and impair recognition of emotional faces.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, United Kingdom. Electronic address: c.hindocha@ucl.ac.uk.

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    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, United Kingdom.

    ,

    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, United Kingdom.

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    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, United Kingdom.

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    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, United Kingdom.

    ,

    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, United Kingdom; Department of Psychology, University of Exeter, United Kingdom.

    Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, University College London, United Kingdom.

    Source

    MeSH

    Administration, Inhalation
    Cannabidiol
    Cross-Over Studies
    Double-Blind Method
    Dronabinol
    Drug Combinations
    Drug Interactions
    Emotions
    Facial Recognition
    Female
    Humans
    Longitudinal Studies
    Male
    Marijuana Smoking
    Photic Stimulation
    Psychotropic Drugs
    Schizotypal Personality Disorder
    Surveys and Questionnaires
    Visual Analog Scale
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

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

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    25534187

    Citation

    Hindocha, Chandni, et al. "Acute Effects of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabidiol and Their Combination On Facial Emotion Recognition: a Randomised, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study in Cannabis Users." European Neuropsychopharmacology : the Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 25, no. 3, 2015, pp. 325-34.
    Hindocha C, Freeman TP, Schafer G, et al. Acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and their combination on facial emotion recognition: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in cannabis users. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(3):325-34.
    Hindocha, C., Freeman, T. P., Schafer, G., Gardener, C., Das, R. K., Morgan, C. J., & Curran, H. V. (2015). Acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and their combination on facial emotion recognition: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in cannabis users. European Neuropsychopharmacology : the Journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 25(3), pp. 325-34. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2014.11.014.
    Hindocha C, et al. Acute Effects of Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabidiol and Their Combination On Facial Emotion Recognition: a Randomised, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study in Cannabis Users. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015;25(3):325-34. PubMed PMID: 25534187.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and their combination on facial emotion recognition: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in cannabis users. AU - Hindocha,Chandni, AU - Freeman,Tom P, AU - Schafer,Grainne, AU - Gardener,Chelsea, AU - Das,Ravi K, AU - Morgan,Celia J A, AU - Curran,H Valerie, Y1 - 2014/12/05/ PY - 2014/05/15/received PY - 2014/10/31/revised PY - 2014/11/24/accepted PY - 2014/12/24/entrez PY - 2014/12/24/pubmed PY - 2015/12/17/medline KW - Cannabidiol (CBD) KW - Emotional processing KW - Endocannabinoid system KW - Schizotypy KW - Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) SP - 325 EP - 34 JF - European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology JO - Eur Neuropsychopharmacol VL - 25 IS - 3 N2 - Acute administration of the primary psychoactive constituent of cannabis, Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), impairs human facial affect recognition, implicating the endocannabinoid system in emotional processing. Another main constituent of cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD), has seemingly opposite functional effects on the brain. This study aimed to determine the effects of THC and CBD, both alone and in combination on emotional facial affect recognition. 48 volunteers, selected for high and low frequency of cannabis use and schizotypy, were administered, THC (8mg), CBD (16mg), THC+CBD (8mg+16mg) and placebo, by inhalation, in a 4-way, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design. They completed an emotional facial affect recognition task including fearful, angry, happy, sad, surprise and disgust faces varying in intensity from 20% to 100%. A visual analogue scale (VAS) of feeling 'stoned' was also completed. In comparison to placebo, CBD improved emotional facial affect recognition at 60% emotional intensity; THC was detrimental to the recognition of ambiguous faces of 40% intensity. The combination of THC+CBD produced no impairment. Relative to placebo, both THC alone and combined THC+CBD equally increased feelings of being 'stoned'. CBD did not influence feelings of 'stoned'. No effects of frequency of use or schizotypy were found. In conclusion, CBD improves recognition of emotional facial affect and attenuates the impairment induced by THC. This is the first human study examining the effects of different cannabinoids on emotional processing. It provides preliminary evidence that different pharmacological agents acting upon the endocannabinoid system can both improve and impair recognition of emotional faces. SN - 1873-7862 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25534187/Acute_effects_of_delta_9_tetrahydrocannabinol_cannabidiol_and_their_combination_on_facial_emotion_recognition:_a_randomised_double_blind_placebo_controlled_study_in_cannabis_users_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0924-977X(14)00325-3 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -