Abstinent adolescent marijuana users show altered fMRI response during spatial working memory

Alecia D. Schweinsburg, Bonnie Nagel, Brian C. Schweinsburg, Ann Park, Rebecca J. Theilmann, Susan F. Tapert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit substance among teenagers, yet little is known about the possible neural influence of heavy marijuana use during adolescence. We previously demonstrated an altered functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activity related to spatial working memory (SWM) among adolescents who were heavy users of after an average of 8 days of abstinence, but the persisting neural effects remain unclear. To characterize the potentially persisting neurocognitive effects of heavy marijuana use in adolescence, we examined fMRI response during SWM among abstinent marijuana-using teens. Participants were 15 MJ teens and 17 demographically similar non-using controls, ages 16-18. Teens underwent biweekly urine toxicology screens to ensure abstinence for 28 days before fMRI acquisition. Groups performed similarly on the SWM task, but MJ teens demonstrated lower activity in right dorsolateral prefrontal and occipital cortices, yet significantly more activation in right posterior parietal cortex. MJ teens showed abnormalities in brain response during a SWM task compared with controls, even after 1 month of abstinence. The activation pattern among MJ teens may reflect different patterns of utilization of spatial rehearsal and attention strategies, and could indicate altered neurodevelopment or persisting abnormalities associated with heavy marijuana use in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalPsychiatry Research - Neuroimaging
Volume163
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 30 2008

Fingerprint

Cannabis
Short-Term Memory
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Spatial Memory
Occipital Lobe
Parietal Lobe
Prefrontal Cortex
Toxicology
Urine

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Cognition
  • Drugs
  • Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Abstinent adolescent marijuana users show altered fMRI response during spatial working memory. / Schweinsburg, Alecia D.; Nagel, Bonnie; Schweinsburg, Brian C.; Park, Ann; Theilmann, Rebecca J.; Tapert, Susan F.

In: Psychiatry Research - Neuroimaging, Vol. 163, No. 1, 30.05.2008, p. 40-51.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Schweinsburg, Alecia D. ; Nagel, Bonnie ; Schweinsburg, Brian C. ; Park, Ann ; Theilmann, Rebecca J. ; Tapert, Susan F. / Abstinent adolescent marijuana users show altered fMRI response during spatial working memory. In: Psychiatry Research - Neuroimaging. 2008 ; Vol. 163, No. 1. pp. 40-51.
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