Author(s): Metrik J, Kahler CW, McGeary JE, Monti PM, Rohsenow DJ
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Abstract Human studies and animal experiments present a complex and often contradictory picture of the acute impact of marijuana on emotions. The few human studies specifically examining changes in negative affect find either increases or reductions following delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) administration. In a 2 × 2, instructional set (told THC vs. told no THC) by drug administration (smoked marijuana with 2.8\% THC vs. placebo) between-subjects design, we examined the pharmacologic effect of marijuana on physiological and subjective stimulation, subjective intoxication, and self-reported negative and positive affect with 114 weekly marijuana smokers. Individuals were first tested under a baseline/no smoking condition and again under experimental condition. Relative to placebo, THC significantly increased arousal and confusion/bewilderment. However, the direction of effect on anxiety varied depending on instructional set: Anxiety increased after THC for those told placebo but decreased among other participants. Furthermore, marijuana users who expected more impairment from marijuana displayed more anxiety after smoking active marijuana, whereas those who did not expect the impairment became less anxious after marijuana. Both pharmacologic and stimulus expectancy main effects significantly increased positive affect. Frequent marijuana users were less anxious after smoking as compared to less frequent smokers. These findings show that expectancy instructions and pharmacology play independent roles in effects of marijuana on negative affect. Further studies examining how other individual difference factors impact marijuana's effects on mood are needed.
This article was published in J Cogn Psychother
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access