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Acute Effects Of Smoked Marijuana On Decision Making, As Assessed

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The impact of regular marijuana use on executive cognitive abilities, including decision making, is not well understood. While cross-sectional studies have suggested that substance abusers exhibit impaired decision making, as assessed by the Iowa Gambling Task, the direct role of marijuana use in the Gambling Task performance of marijuana smokers has not been well defined. In this report, we present data on performance on a modified Gambling Task in experienced marijuana users after they had smoked marijuana under controlled laboratory conditions. A total of 36 marijuana users, who reported smoking approximately 24 marijuana cigarettes per week, completed this 3-session outpatient study. During each session, these volunteers completed the Gambling Task once at baseline and 3 times after smoking a single marijuana cigarette (0.0, 1.8, or 3.9% Δ9-THC). Marijuana cigarettes were administered in a double-blind fashion, and the sequence of Δ9-THC concentration was balanced across volunteers. Marijuana increased the time required to complete the task. However, advantageous card selection and money earned on the task were not disrupted by marijuana. These data are consistent with previous findings that indicated that speed of performance on tests of executive function, but not accuracy, is disrupted in experienced marijuana users during marijuana intoxication.

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