Decision Making of Heavy Cannabis Users on the Iowa Gambling Task: Stronger Association with THC of Hair Analysis than with Personality Traits of the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire

Department of Addictive Behavior and Addiction Medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.
European Addiction Research (Impact Factor: 2.1). 02/2009; 15(2):94-8. DOI: 10.1159/000189788
Source: PubMed


It is unclear whether impairment in decision making, measured by the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), in addiction is substance-induced or the consequence of personality structure.
Analysis of the IGT, the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ) and cannabinoids in hair and urine were performed in 13 cannabis users and matched controls.
Hair Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) correlated negatively with the last subtrial (cards 80-100) of the IGT (R = -0.67). In all participants (n = 26) the TPQ dimension, harm avoidance, correlated negatively with the total IGT score (R = -0.46). The last IGT-subtrial correlated with adventure seeking (R = 0.43), harm avoidance (R = -0.39) and reward dependence (R = -0.44). The last subtrial gives information on whether a participant has learned the IGT strategy. Multiple regression confirmed the impact of THC on the last subtrial, whereas TPQ personality traits did not additionally explain variance.
Former indications of the IGT performance depending on the amount of cannabis consumed were replicated with an objective measurement of chronic cannabis consumption (hair THC). Multiple regression analysis argues for a stronger impact of chronic THC consumption than personality traits, but does not provide a causal relationship. Other factors (e.g. genetic) may also play a role.

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    • " , Bukstein , & Lynch , 2002 ; Molina & Pelham , 2003 ) , including cannabis dependence ( Crowley , Macdonald , Whitmore , & Mikulich , 1998 ) . Cannabis use and DM are associated as well . Individuals who use cannabis are more likely to perform poorly on DM tasks by choosing more risky options ( Grant , Chamberlain , Schreiber , & Odlaug , 2012 ; Hermann et al . , 2009 ; Whitlow et al . , 2004 ) . Similar to cannabis users , those with conduct disorder perform more poorly on DM tasks than those without conduct disorder ( Fairchild et al . , 2009 ) . Given that number of con - duct disorder symptoms , cannabis use , and DM abilities are associated , it is important to study the three variables together"
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    ABSTRACT: Risky sexual behavior (RSB) is a current public health concern affecting adolescents and young adults. Conduct disorder, cannabis use, and decision-making (DM) ability are interrelated constructs that are relevant to RSB; however, there is little research on the association of DM and RSB. Participants were 79 cannabis users assessed through self-report measures of RSB and mental health and a timeline follow-back procedure for substance use. DM ability was assessed via the Iowa Gambling Task. We found that more conduct disorder symptoms accounted for unique variance in measures of overall RSB and an earlier initiation of oral sex, even when taking into account DM and cannabis use. Amount of cannabis use and DM ability moderated the relationships between number of conduct disorder symptoms and number of oral sex partners and age of initiation for vaginal sex. An increase in conduct disorder symptoms was associated with more oral sex partners when DM was poor and fewer partners when DM was better; however, this relationship was only present at higher levels of cannabis use. Furthermore, when DM was poor, more conduct disorder symptoms predicted a younger age of initiation of vaginal sex, with the age decreasing as amount of cannabis use increased. Determining how DM influences RSB may assist in the identification of novel treatment approaches to reduce engagement in RSB.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
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    • "The 5-HTTLPR polymorphism may be specifically associated with decision-making skills due to its prominent role in emotional processing, and its link with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex–amygdala network (Bevilacqua and Goldman, 2011), which is also impacted by heavy cannabis use (Vaidya et al, 2011). There is evidence that higher THC concentrations predict poorer decision-making quality in regular users (Hermann et al, 2009), such that in this case, along the same lines, it is plausible that carrying the s/s variant and using cannabis may have cumulative negative effects on decision-making skills. The aims of this study were: (i) to assess the executive functions of young daily cannabis users compared with nondrug-using controls, also exploring potential effects of age at onset and use severity; and (ii) to investigate possible interaction effects of cannabis use and COMT val158met and 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms in explaining executive function performance in cannabis users. "
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    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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    • "The level of IGT performance indicated that both groups did not learn over time that the CD decks were the advantageous decks, indicating a relatively disadvantageous choice strategy in both groups. Compared with studies in chronic cannabis users, the heavy cannabis users in the present study and in the study of Hermann et al. (2009), which both reported similar performance in cannabis groups and control groups, were relatively young, and the duration of heavy cannabis use was relatively short, supporting the idea that there is a threshold at which cannabis impairs decision making. Some potential limitations must be taken into account. "
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