Associations between adolescent cannabis use and neuropsychological decline: a longitudinal co‐twin control study

Published on Feb 1, 2018in Addiction6.343
· DOI :10.1111/ADD.13946
Madeline H. Meier27
Estimated H-index: 27
(ASU: Arizona State University),
Avshalom Caspi182
Estimated H-index: 182
(Duke University)
+ 4 AuthorsTerrie E. Moffitt197
Estimated H-index: 197
(Duke University)
Aims This study tested whether adolescents who used cannabis or met criteria for cannabis dependence showed neuropsychological impairment prior to cannabis initiation and neuropsychological decline from before to after cannabis initiation. Design A longitudinal co-twin control study. Setting and Participants Participants were 1989 twins from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative birth cohort of twins born in England and Wales from 1994 to 1995. Measurements Frequency of cannabis use and cannabis dependence were assessed at age 18. Intelligence quotient (IQ) was obtained at ages 5, 12 and 18. Executive functions were assessed at age 18. Findings Compared with adolescents who did not use cannabis, adolescents who used cannabis had lower IQ in childhood prior to cannabis initiation and lower IQ at age 18, but there was little evidence that cannabis use was associated with IQ decline from ages 12–18. For example, adolescents with cannabis dependence had age 12 and age 18 IQ scores that were 5.61 (t = −3.11, P = 0.002) and 7.34 IQ points (t = −5.27, P   0.10). The one exception was that twins who used cannabis more frequently than their co-twin performed worse on one working memory test (Spatial Span reversed; β = −0.07, P = 0.036). Conclusions Short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence. Family background factors explain why adolescent cannabis users perform worse on IQ and executive function tests.
Figures & Tables
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
34 Citations
969 Citations
112 Citations
#1Natalie Castellanos-Ryan (UdeM: Université de Montréal)H-Index: 24
#2Jean-Baptiste Pingault (UCL: University College London)H-Index: 27
Last. Jean R. Séguin (UdeM: Université de Montréal)H-Index: 10
view all 6 authors...
The main objective of this prospective longitudinal study was to investigate bidirectional associations between adolescent cannabis use (CU) and neurocognitive performance in a community sample of 294 young men from ages 13 to 20 years. The results showed that in early adolescence, and prior to initiation to CU, poor short-term and working memory, but high verbal IQ, were associated with earlier age of onset of CU. In turn, age of CU onset and CU frequency across adolescence were associated with...
50 CitationsSource
#1Cashen M. Boccio (FSU: Florida State University)H-Index: 6
#2Kevin M. Beaver (FSU: Florida State University)H-Index: 66
Abstract Objectives There is conflicting evidence regarding the association between adolescent marijuana use and adult intelligence, with some studies suggesting adolescent marijuana use can lead to declines in intelligence. The purpose of this study is to shed additional light on the potential link between marijuana use and changes in intelligence. Methods We employed change scores and ordinary least squares (OLS) analysis to test for associations between marijuana use and changes in intelligen...
9 CitationsSource
#1H. Valerie Curran (UCL: University College London)H-Index: 18
#2Tom P. Freeman (UCL: University College London)H-Index: 30
Last. Loren H. Parsons (Scripps Research Institute)H-Index: 70
view all 6 authors...
In an increasing number of states and countries, cannabis now stands poised to join alcohol and tobacco as a legal drug. Quantifying the relative adverse and beneficial effects of cannabis and its constituent cannabinoids should therefore be prioritized. Whereas newspaper headlines have focused on links between cannabis and psychosis, less attention has been paid to the much more common problem of cannabis addiction. Certain cognitive changes have also been attributed to cannabis use, although t...
185 CitationsSource
#1Samantha J. Broyd (Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute)H-Index: 16
#2Hendrika H van Hell (Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute)H-Index: 5
Last. Nadia Solowij (Illawarra Health & Medical Research Institute)H-Index: 41
view all 5 authors...
Cannabis use has been associated with impaired cognition during acute intoxication as well as in the unintoxicated state in long-term users. However, the evidence has been mixed and contested, and no systematic reviews of the literature on neuropsychological task-based measures of cognition have been conducted in an attempt to synthesize the findings. We systematically review the empirical research published in the past decade (from January 2004 to February 2015) on acute and chronic effects of ...
316 CitationsSource
#1Reto Auer (UNIL: University of Lausanne)H-Index: 22
#2Eric Vittinghoff (UCSF: University of California, San Francisco)H-Index: 136
Last. Mark J. Pletcher (UCSF: University of California, San Francisco)H-Index: 59
view all 12 authors...
Importance Marijuana use is increasingly common in the United States. It is unclear whether it has long-term effects on memory and other domains of cognitive function. Objective To study the association between cumulative lifetime exposure to marijuana use and cognitive performance in middle age. Design, Setting, and Participants We used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a cohort of 5115 black and white men and women aged 18 to 30 years at baseline fr...
77 CitationsSource
#1Nora D. Volkow (NIDA: National Institute on Drug Abuse)H-Index: 183
#2James M. Swanson (UCI: University of California, Irvine)H-Index: 135
Last. Ruben Baler (NIDA: National Institute on Drug Abuse)H-Index: 50
view all 9 authors...
With a political debate about the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use as a backdrop, the wave of legalization and liberalization initiatives continues to spread. Four states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska) and the District of Columbia have passed laws that legalized cannabis for recreational use by adults, and 23 others plus the District of Columbia now regulate cannabis use for medical purposes. These policy changes could trigger a broad range of unintended consequences, wit...
401 CitationsSource
#1Nicholas Jackson (SC: University of Southern California)H-Index: 29
#2Joshua D. Isen (UMN: University of Minnesota)H-Index: 12
Last. Laura A. Baker (SC: University of Southern California)H-Index: 42
view all 9 authors...
Marijuana is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, and use during adolescence-when the brain is still developing-has been proposed as a cause of poorer neurocognitive outcome. N ...
112 CitationsSource
#1Claire Mokrysz (UCL: University College London)H-Index: 14
#2Rebecca Landy (QMUL: Queen Mary University of London)H-Index: 15
Last. HV Curran (UCL: University College London)H-Index: 25
view all 6 authors...
There is much debate about the impact of adolescent cannabis use on intellectual and educational outcomes. We investigated associations between adolescent cannabis use and IQ and educational attainment in a sample of 2235 teenagers from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. By the age of 15, 24% reported having tried cannabis at least once. A series of nested linear regressions was employed, adjusted hierarchically by pre-exposure ability and potential confounds (e.g. cigarette an...
72 CitationsSource
As marijuana use becomes more acceptable, researchers are scrambling to answer key questions about the drug.
20 CitationsSource
#1Wayne Hall (UQ: University of Queensland)H-Index: 128
Aims To examine changes in the evidence on the adverse health effects of cannabis since 1993. Methods A comparison of the evidence in 1993 with the evidence and interpretation of the same health outcomes in 2013. Results Research in the past 20 years has shown that driving while cannabis-impaired approximately doubles car crash risk and that around one in 10 regular cannabis users develop dependence. Regular cannabis use in adolescence approximately doubles the risks of early school-leaving and ...
353 CitationsSource
Cited By62
#1Naomi P. Friedman (CU: University of Colorado Boulder)H-Index: 28
#2Trevor W. Robbins (University of Cambridge)H-Index: 255
Concepts of cognitive control (CC) and executive function (EF) are defined in terms of their relationships with goal-directed behavior versus habits and controlled versus automatic processing, and related to the functions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and related regions and networks. A psychometric approach shows unity and diversity in CC constructs, with 3 components in the most commonly studied constructs: general or common CC and components specific to mental set shifting and working memory...
1 CitationsSource
#1William E. Copeland (UVM: University of Vermont)H-Index: 52
#2Sherika N. Hill (UNC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Last. Lilly Shanahan (UZH: University of Zurich)H-Index: 32
view all 3 authors...
Objective null Research on associations of early cannabis use with adult functioning reports mixed findings. This may be due, in part, to wide variations in the definitions of early cannabis use. This study aims to compare associations of four commonly-used definitions of early cannabis use-related to timing, dose, duration, and associated symptoms-with adult outcomes. null Method null Analyses were based on a 20+-year longitudinal, community-representative study of 1,420 participants. Between a...
#1Jennifer Debenham (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 2
#2Louise Birrell (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 9
Last. Nicola C. Newton (USYD: University of Sydney)H-Index: 26
view all 6 authors...
Adolescence and early adulthood are crucial periods of neurodevelopment characterised by functional, structural, and cognitive maturation, which helps prepare young people for adulthood. This systematic review of longitudinal studies aims to delineate neural predictors from neural consequences of cannabis and illicit substance use, as well as investigate the potential for the developing brain (at ages 10-25 years) to recover after damage. Five databases were searched to yield a total of 38 eligi...
1 CitationsSource
#1Naomi P. Friedman (CU: University of Colorado Boulder)H-Index: 28
#2Marie T. Banich (CU: University of Colorado Boulder)H-Index: 79
Last. Matthew C. Keller (CU: University of Colorado Boulder)H-Index: 56
view all 3 authors...
The field of human behavioral genetics has come full circle. It began by using twin/family studies to estimate the relative importance of genetic and environmental influences. As large-scale genotyping became cost-effective, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) yielded insights about the nature of genetic influences and new methods that use GWAS data to estimate heritability and genetic correlations invigorated the field. Yet these newer GWAS methods have not replaced twin/family studies. In ...
1 CitationsSource
#1Melissa Parlar (St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton)H-Index: 7
#2Emily J. Anderson MacKillop (St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton)H-Index: 1
Last. James MacKillop (St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton)H-Index: 70
view all 5 authors...
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the associations between cannabis use and neurocognitive functioning, including self-reported attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, in a large sample of emerging adults (ages 21-25) using a cross-sectional design. A secondary objective was to examine age of cannabis initiation as a moderator. METHODS Participants were high-risk drinking emerging adults (n = 598) reporting past-month cannabis use in the following categories: 1) non-users (i.e., never or n...
Abstract null null Non-acute effects of cannabis on neurocognition in adolescents remain unclear with most studies being cross-sectional. Therefore, the aim of this longitudinal, multi-center study was to examine the effects of cannabis use on cognitive abilities in participants emerging into adulthood. null Data on substance use as well as neurocognitive measures were assessed in 804 adolescents (441 females, 363 males) at age 14 and 19. First, cross-sectional analyses of baseline and follow-up...
#1Ashley M. Schnakenberg Martin (IU: Indiana University)H-Index: 6
#2Deepak Cyril D'Souza (Yale University)H-Index: 48
Last. Brian F. O'Donnell (IU: Indiana University)H-Index: 66
view all 5 authors...
Objectives null Preclinical and clinical studies suggest that males and females may be differentially affected by cannabis use. This study evaluated the interaction of cannabis use and biological sex on cognition, and the association between observed cognitive deficits and features of cannabis use. null Methods null Cognitive measures were assessed in those with regular, ongoing, cannabis use (N = 40; 22 female) and non-using peers (N = 40; 23 female). Intelligence, psychomotor speed, and verbal...
Last. Anneliese Dörr (University of Chile)H-Index: 4
view all 3 authors...
Using cannabis (e.g., smoking marijuana) is becoming popular, partly due to a legalization trend across different countries. This tendency has resulted in cannabis consumption being accepted by society as if it were harmless. However, evidence shows that the use of this drug has detrimental effects on cognitive, academic, and professional performance, which tend to be larger in younger users (e.g., high school students). In this review article, we focus on the decline of visuospatial processing ...