Self-Reported Cognition in Cannabis Users: Results from a National Representative Sample
Introduction With the increase in cannabis use and cannabis potency, there is a need for a better understanding of the impact of recreational use on cognitive function. The literature is debated about the effects of long-term cannabis use and cannabis abstinence on cognitive function. This study aims to: 1. Evaluate the relationship between self-reported cognitive function and current\ former\ never cannabis use. 2. Study the association between self-reported cognitive function and cannabis use characteristics among current and former users. Methods We used cross-sectional data from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions III; a US nationally representative survey of 36,309 adults age ≥18 years conducted in 2012–2013. The statistical examination included hypotheses tests, linear regressions, all using complex survey design analysis procedures. The cognitive function included an executive function subscale, an attention subscale and a total score. Results Both current (N = 3,681) and former users (N = 7,448) reported worse cognitive functions than never users (N=24,956); similarly, current users reported worse cognitive function than former users. An increase in the number of joints was correlated with a better self-reported score on the attention subscale among current users. The duration of the maximal use period correlated with worse self-reports on the executive function subscale and the total score among former users. All results showed a modest effect.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that current cannabis use is linked with lower cognition in attention and executive functions compared to both never and previous users. Former users have lower cognition in both scales, compared to never users.
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