JAMA Psychiatry. Published online November 23, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.3915
Question Is there an association between adolescent high-dose Ä9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exposure and cognitive vulnerability in adulthood?
Findings In this rat model, high-dose THC exposure during adolescence resulted in risky decision-making and impulsivity in adulthood, similar to results from reanalyzed data from 37 human chronic cannabis users, an association enhanced by acute THC reexposure. Adolescent THC exposure induced cell-specific and layer-specific changes in cannabinoid-1 receptor gene expression and astrocyte perturbations in the amygdala and prelimbic cortex.
Meaning These results emphasize significant neurobiological outcomes of high-dose adolescent THC exposure and cognitive vulnerability in adulthood.
Importance Although perceived as relatively harmless and nonaddictive, adolescent cannabis use significantly increases the likelihood of developing cannabis use disorder in adulthood, especially for high-potency cannabis. Risky decision-making is associated with chronic cannabis use, but given confounds of human studies, it remains unclear whether adolescent cannabis exposure and Ä9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency specifically predicts risky decision-making or influences cognitive response to the drug later in life.
Objective To leverage a human data set of cannabis users and a rat model to evaluate the long-term outcomes of adolescent THC exposure on adult decision-making and impulse control.
Conclusions and Relevance In this translational study, high-dose adolescent THC exposure was associated with cognitive vulnerability in adulthood, especially with THC re-exposure. These data also suggest a link between astrocytes and cognition that altogether provides important insights regarding the neurobiological genesis of risky cannabis use that may help promote prevention and treatment efforts.
(Source: JAMA Adolescent Psychiatry )