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J Cogn Neurosci. 2010 Sep;22(9):1906-16. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21355.

Cannabinoid modulations of resting state EEG θ power and working memory are correlated in humans.

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Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Studies and Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, The Netherlands.


Object representations in working memory depend on neural firing that is phase-locked to oscillations in the theta band (4-8 Hz). Cannabis intake disrupts synchronicity of theta oscillations and interferes with memory performance. Sixteen participants smoked cigarettes containing 0.0, 29.3, 49.1, or 69.4 mg Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a randomized crossover design and performed working memory and general attention tasks. Dose-dependent effects of THC were observed for resting state EEG theta and beta power, working memory (per-item search time), and attentional performance (percent errors and RT). The THC effects on EEG theta power and memory performance were correlated, whereas other EEG and behavioral effects were not. These findings confirm and extend previous results in rodents and humans, and corroborate a neurocomputational model that postulates that temporal aspects of information processing in working memory depend causally on nested oscillations in the theta and gamma (>30 Hz) bands.

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