Acute and chronic effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on cerebral blood flow: A systematic review

M Olabisi Ogunbiyi, Chandni Hindocha, Tom P Freeman, Michael A P Bloomfield

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Abstract

Acute and chronic exposure to cannabis and its main psychoactive component, Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is associated with changes in brain function and cerebral blood flow (CBF). We therefore sought to systematically review the literature on the effects of THC on CBF following PRISMA guidelines. Studies assessing the acute and chronic effects of THC on CBF, perfusion and volume were searched in the PubMed database between January 1972 and June 2019. We included thirty-four studies, which altogether investigated 1259 humans and 28 animals. Acute and chronic THC exposure have contrasting and regionally specific effects on CBF. While acute THC causes an overall increase in CBF in the anterior cingulate cortex, frontal cortex and insula, in a dose-dependent manner, chronic cannabis use results in an overall reduction in CBF, especially in the prefrontal cortex, which may be reversed upon prolonged abstinence from the drug. Future studies should focus on standardised methodology and longitudinal assessment to strengthen our understanding of the region-specific effects of THC on CBF and its clinical and functional significance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109900
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Volume101
Early online date25 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2020

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