Date of Award

May 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Krista M Lisdahl

Committee Members

Christine L Larson, Ryan C Shorey


Cannabis use is associated with attenuated reward signaling, yet few studies have examined this relationship when viewing rewarding appetitive faces while undergoing functional neuroimaging. Furthermore, few neuroimaging analyses have examined the moderating role of gender on task-based fMRI outcomes. This study explored functional BOLD response elicited by appetitive faces while engaged in an affective go/no-go task, and specifically investigated the differences between cannabis-using and control groups, whether gender moderate findings, and brain-behavior associations. Participants (ages 16-26 years) were scanned after at least 3-weeks of monitored abstinence (cannabis-using group = 35; control group = 33). The findings demonstrated aberrant activation in the left inferior parietal region among cannabis-using participants and a cannabis-by-gender moderation in the right parahippocampal gyrus. In addition, marginal brain-behavior associations were observed between depressive symptoms and novel reward-seeking with the left inferior parietal region. Results may be due to the abstinence window our sample maintained, attentional allocation, or a premorbid risk factor for cannabis use maintenance. Future studies are needed to longitudinally determine the trajectory of affective development and how it relates to cannabis use in adolescence and young adulthood.