Event Title

Alcohol and Cannabis Co-use: Evaluating Verbal Learning Performance in Adolescents and Young Adults

Mentor 1

Krista Lisdahl

Mentor 2

Ashley Stinson

Start Date

16-4-2021 12:00 AM

Description

Alcohol and cannabis are the most widely co-used substances among adolescents and adults. Both alcohol and cannabis use have been linked to deficits in cognitive functioning, and while many studies have examined these effects independently, fewer studies have examined the effects of co-use. Current findings regarding co-use are mixed, as some studies suggest that cannabis may have neuroprotective effects, while others suggest that co-use contributes additively to cognitive deficits. The current study aims to investigate the relationship between number of past year alcohol and cannabis co-use days and verbal learning and memory performance in adolescent and young adults after a three-week abstinence period. The sample included 90 participants ages 16-25 (M age=21.14, 44% female). Past year alcohol, cannabis, and co-use days were assessed by self-report on the Timeline Followback, which measured frequency and quantity of individual substances. The California Verbal Learning Task-II (CVLT-II) was utilized to assess learning and memory on verbal tasks. From the CVLT-II, initial learning, total learning across Trials 1-5, and short and long delay free recall performance were used as outcomes. Separate multiple regressions were run to assess the relationship between past year substance use (alcohol use, cannabis use, and co-use days) and cognitive outcomes while controlling for age and sex. Results indicated that the overall models accounting for substance use and demographic variables were not significantly related to CVLT outcomes (p’s>.05). These findings are inconsistent with prior research suggesting negative effects of alcohol and cannabis use on cognition; however, these results align with other study findings that show after 1 week to a month of abstinence there are no significant differences in cognitive performance between substance users and healthy controls. Future longitudinal research is needed to disentangle independent and interactive contributions alcohol and cannabis use may have on cognition during adolescence.

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Apr 16th, 12:00 AM

Alcohol and Cannabis Co-use: Evaluating Verbal Learning Performance in Adolescents and Young Adults

Alcohol and cannabis are the most widely co-used substances among adolescents and adults. Both alcohol and cannabis use have been linked to deficits in cognitive functioning, and while many studies have examined these effects independently, fewer studies have examined the effects of co-use. Current findings regarding co-use are mixed, as some studies suggest that cannabis may have neuroprotective effects, while others suggest that co-use contributes additively to cognitive deficits. The current study aims to investigate the relationship between number of past year alcohol and cannabis co-use days and verbal learning and memory performance in adolescent and young adults after a three-week abstinence period. The sample included 90 participants ages 16-25 (M age=21.14, 44% female). Past year alcohol, cannabis, and co-use days were assessed by self-report on the Timeline Followback, which measured frequency and quantity of individual substances. The California Verbal Learning Task-II (CVLT-II) was utilized to assess learning and memory on verbal tasks. From the CVLT-II, initial learning, total learning across Trials 1-5, and short and long delay free recall performance were used as outcomes. Separate multiple regressions were run to assess the relationship between past year substance use (alcohol use, cannabis use, and co-use days) and cognitive outcomes while controlling for age and sex. Results indicated that the overall models accounting for substance use and demographic variables were not significantly related to CVLT outcomes (p’s>.05). These findings are inconsistent with prior research suggesting negative effects of alcohol and cannabis use on cognition; however, these results align with other study findings that show after 1 week to a month of abstinence there are no significant differences in cognitive performance between substance users and healthy controls. Future longitudinal research is needed to disentangle independent and interactive contributions alcohol and cannabis use may have on cognition during adolescence.