An event-related potential study on the effects of cannabis on emotion processing

Lucy J. Troup, Stephanie Bastidas, Maia T. Nguyen, Jeremy A. Andrzejewski, Matthew Bowers, Jason S. Nomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of cannabis on emotional processing was investigated using event-related potential paradigms (ERPs). ERPs associated with emotional processing of cannabis users, and non-using controls, were recorded and compared during an implicit and explicit emotional expression recognition and empathy task. Comparisons in P3 component mean amplitudes were made between cannabis users and controls. Results showed a significant decrease in the P3 amplitude in cannabis users compared to controls. Specifically, cannabis users showed reduced P3 amplitudes for implicit compared to explicit processing over centro-parietal sites which reversed, and was enhanced, at fronto-central sites. Cannabis users also showed a decreased P3 to happy faces, with an increase to angry faces, compared to controls. These effects appear to increase with those participants that self-reported the highest levels of cannabis consumption. Those cannabis users with the greatest consumption rates showed the largest P3 deficits for explicit processing and negative emotions. These data suggest that there is a complex relationship between cannabis consumption and emotion processing that appears to be modulated by attention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0149764
Number of pages27
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cannabis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Emotions
  • Empathy
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reaction Time
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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