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Adolescent cannabis use: what is the evidence for functional brain alteration?

Lorenzetti, Valentina, Alonso-Lana, Silvia, Youssef, George J., Verdejo-Garcia, Antonio, Suo, Chao, Cousijn, Janna, Takagi, Michael, Yücel, Murat and Solowij, Nadia 2016, Adolescent cannabis use: what is the evidence for functional brain alteration?, Current pharmaceutical design, vol. 22, no. 42, pp. 6353-6365, doi: 10.2174/1381612822666160805155922.

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Title Adolescent cannabis use: what is the evidence for functional brain alteration?
Author(s) Lorenzetti, Valentina
Alonso-Lana, Silvia
Youssef, George J.ORCID iD for Youssef, George J. orcid.org/0000-0002-6178-4895
Verdejo-Garcia, Antonio
Suo, Chao
Cousijn, Janna
Takagi, Michael
Yücel, Murat
Solowij, Nadia
Journal name Current pharmaceutical design
Volume number 22
Issue number 42
Start page 6353
End page 6365
Total pages 13
Publisher Bentham Science Publishers
Place of publication Beijing, China
Publication date 2016
ISSN 1381-6128
1873-4286
Keyword(s) cannabis
brain
adolescence
functional neuroimaging
parietal cortex
frontal cortex
hyperactivity
Summary Background Cannabis use typically commences during adolescence, a period during which the brain undergoes profound remodeling in areas that are high in cannabinoid receptors and that mediate cognitive control and emotion regulation. It is therefore important to determine the impact of adolescent cannabis use on brain function.

Objective
We investigate the impact of adolescent cannabis use on brain function by reviewing the functional magnetic resonance imaging studies in adolescent samples.

Method
We systematically reviewed the literature and identified 13 functional neuroimaging studies in adolescent cannabis users (aged 13 to 18 years) performing working memory, inhibition and reward processing tasks.

Results
The majority of the studies found altered brain function, but intact behavioural task performance in adolescent cannabis users versus controls. The most consistently reported differences were in the frontal-parietal network, which mediates cognitive control. Heavier use was associated with abnormal brain function in most samples. A minority of studies controlled for the influence of confounders that can also undermine brain function, such as tobacco and alcohol use, psychopathology symptoms and family history of psychiatric disorders and substance use.

Conclusion
Emerging evidence shows abnormal frontal-parietal network activity in adolescent cannabis users, particularly in heavier users. Brain functional alterations may reflect a compensatory neural mechanism that enables normal behavioural performance. It remains unclear if cannabis exposure drives these alterations, as substance use and mental health confounders have not been systematically examined.
Language eng
DOI 10.2174/1381612822666160805155922
Field of Research 170299 Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
1115 Pharmacology And Pharmaceutical Sciences
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Bentham Science Publishers
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30088886

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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