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Br J Radiol. 2019 Sep;92(1101):20190165. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20190165. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

Reward, Control & Decision-Making in Cannabis Use Disorder: Insights from Functional MRI.

Fatima H1, Howlett AC2,3,4, Whitlow CT1,2,3,4,5,6.

Author information

1
1Department of Radiology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Section of Neuroradiology, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States.
2
2NIDA Center for Neurobiology of Addiction Treatment, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States.
3
3Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States.
4
4Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States.
5
5Department of Biomedical Engineering, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States.
6
6Department of Biostatistics and Data Science, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States.

Abstract

The recreational consumption of cannabis has increased significantly across the world with an estimated 180 million people currently using. In the United States, 4.1 million are currently diagnosed with cannabis use disorder. Cannabis dependence and abuse was combined into a single entity as a behavioral disorder with a problematic pattern of cannabis use and termed cannabis use disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Chronic use of cannabis has been linked with region-specific effects across the brain mediating reward processing, cognitive control and decision-making that are central to understanding addictive behaviors. This review presents a snapshot of the current literature assessing the effects of chronic cannabis use on human brain function via functional MRI. Studies employing various paradigms and contrasting cognitive activation amongst cannabis users and non-users were incorporated. The effects of trans-del-ta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) in marijuana and other preparations of cannabis are mediated by the endocannabinoid system, which is also briefly introduced.Much variation exists in the current literature regarding the functional changes associated with chronic cannabis use. One possible explanation for this variation is the heterogeneity in study designs, with little implementation of standardized diagnostic criteria when selecting chronic users, distinct time points of participant assessment, differing cognitive paradigms and imaging protocols. As such, there is an urgent requirement for future investigations that further characterize functional changes associated with chronic cannabis use.

PMID:
31364398
PMCID:
PMC6732906
[Available on 2020-09-01]
DOI:
10.1259/bjr.20190165
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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