Awareness of emotional expressions in cannabis users: an event-related potential study

Robert D. Torrence, Donald C. Rojas, Lucy J. Troup

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Abstract

Cannabis use has been associated with anxiogenic effects when used in low frequency for a short duration, but cannabis can also have anxiogenic effects when used heavily for a long duration. Animal studies have indicated the neurobiological mechanisms related to cannabis and anxiety; however, research has been limited on the related neurocognitive mechanisms. Previous research has indicated that cannabis use is associated with alterations in event-related potentials (ERPs). The purpose of the current study was to examine anxiety related attentional processing of emotional expressions using ERP methods. We used a backward masking paradigm to restrict awareness of facial expressions (i.e., fearful, happy, and neutral). The results indicated that cannabis use was associated with differences in emotional processing. Specifically, the results suggested cannabis users had increased P1 amplitudes toward happy facial expressions compared to fearful and neutral. Additionally, cannabis users seemed to have reduced N170 hemisphere lateralization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number00069
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume10
Early online date10 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

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Keywords

  • Cannabis
  • ERP
  • Emotion
  • Facial expression
  • Awareness

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