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|Title||Effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on evaluation of emotional images.|
|Author(s)||Ballard ME, Bedi G, de Wit H.|
|Journal, Volume, Issue||J Psychopharmacol. 2012 May 13. [Epub ahead of print]|
|Major outcome(s)||THC renders fearful faces less fearful|
There is growing evidence that drugs of abuse alter processing of emotional
information in ways that could be attractive to users. Our recent report that
Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) diminishes amygdalar activation in response to
threat-related faces suggests that THC may modify evaluation of
emotionally-salient, particularly negative or threatening, stimuli. In this
study, we examined the effects of acute THC on evaluation of emotional images.
Healthy volunteers received two doses of THC (7.5 and 15 mg; p.o.) and placebo
across separate sessions before performing tasks assessing facial emotion
recognition and emotional responses to pictures of emotional scenes. THC
significantly impaired recognition of facial fear and anger, but it only
marginally impaired recognition of sadness and happiness. The drug did not
consistently affect ratings of emotional scenes. THC's effects on emotional
evaluation were not clearly related to its mood-altering effects. These results
support our previous work, and show that THC reduces perception of facial threat.
Nevertheless, THC does not appear to positively bias evaluation of emotional
stimuli in general.
|Dose(s)||7.5 and 15 mg|
|Type of publication||Medical journal|
|Address of author(s)||Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.|