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Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jun 1;61(11):1281-9. Epub 2007 Jan 17.

Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex N-acetylaspartate/total creatine (NAA/tCr) loss in male recreational cannabis users.

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  • 1Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cannabinoids present neurotoxic and neuroprotective properties in in vitro studies, inconsistent alterations in human neuroimaging studies, neuropsychological deficits, and an increased risk for psychotic episodes.

METHODS:

Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS), neuropsychological testing, and hair analysis for cannabinoids was performed in 13 male nontreatment-seeking recreational cannabis users and 13 male control subjects.

RESULTS:

A significantly diminished N-acetylaspartate/total creatine (NAA/tCr) ratio in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) was observed in cannabis users (p = .0003). The NAA/tCr in the putamen/globus pallidum region correlated significantly with cannabidiol (R(2) = .66, p = .004). Results of the Wisconsin Card Sorting test, Trail making Test, and D2 test for attention were influenced by cannabinoids.

CONCLUSIONS:

Chronic recreational cannabis use is associated with an indication of diminished neuronal and axonal integrity in the DLPFC in this study. As chronic cannabis use is a risk factor for psychosis, these results are interesting because diminished NAA/tCr ratios in the DLPFC and neuropsychological deficits were also reported in schizophrenia. The strong positive correlation of NAA/tCr and cannabidiol in the putamen/globus pallidum is in line with neuroprotective properties of cannabidiol, which were also observed in in vitro model studies of Parkinson's disease.

PMID:
17239356
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.08.027
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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