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Psychiatry Res. 2005 Dec 30;140(3):271-80. Epub 2005 Nov 14.

Recent cannabis abuse decreased stress-induced BOLD signals in the frontal and cingulate cortices of cocaine dependent individuals.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, Connecticut Mental Health Center, Room S103, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT 06519, USA. chiang-shan.li@yale.edu

Abstract

Previous neuroimaging studies showed that use of marijuana can alter patterns of cortical activation during rest or a task challenge. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine whether recent cannabis abuse contributed to stress-induced blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) contrast in a group of cocaine-dependent individuals. Emotional stress was induced using the script-guided imagery paradigm, in which subjects imagined being in a real-life stressful situation and, as a control, in a neutral situation, while BOLD signals of their brain were acquired with a 1.5 T scanner. Abstinent cocaine-dependent subjects with recent marijuana abuse (n=8) were compared with abstinent cocaine-dependent subjects who had not abused marijuana recently (n=18). The two groups were otherwise matched in their demographic characteristics and drug use history. All subjects were abstinent for at least 15 days and drug free as confirmed by urine drug screening before the imaging session. Recent cannabis abusers demonstrated hypo-activation in frontal cortical areas including the perigenual anterior cingulate during increased emotional stress. In contrast, at the same statistical threshold, no brain regions showed increased activation in recent cannabis abusers compared with non-abusers. The group difference in the perigenual anterior cingulate remained even when lifetime cocaine and alcohol consumption was accounted for in covariance analysis. These results provide evidence that recent cannabis abuse is associated with decreased activation in the frontal cortex during an emotional stress task. The results suggest an abnormal cognitive control mechanism during affective processing in association with heavy cannabis use.

PMID:
16290108
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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