Acute and chronic effects of cannabinoids on effort-related decision-making and reward learning

an evaluation of the cannabis 'amotivational' hypotheses

Will Lawn, Tom P Freeman, Rebecca A Pope, Alyssa Joye, Lisa Harvey, Chandni Hindocha, Claire Mokrysz, Abigail Moss, Matthew B Wall, Michael Ap Bloomfield, Ravi K Das, Celia Ja Morgan, David J Nutt, H Valerie Curran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

RATIONALE: Anecdotally, both acute and chronic cannabis use have been associated with apathy, amotivation, and other reward processing deficits. To date, empirical support for these effects is limited, and no previous studies have assessed both acute effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as associations with cannabis dependence.

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were (1) to examine acute effects of cannabis with CBD (Cann + CBD) and without CBD (Cann-CBD) on effort-related decision-making and (2) to examine associations between cannabis dependence, effort-related decision-making and reward learning.

METHODS: In study 1, 17 participants each received three acute vaporized treatments, namely Cann-CBD (8 mg THC), Cann + CBD (8 mg THC + 10 mg CBD) and matched placebo, followed by a 50 % dose top-up 1.5 h later, and completed the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task (EEfRT). In study 2, 20 cannabis-dependent participants were compared with 20 non-dependent, drug-using control participants on the EEfRT and the Probabilistic Reward Task (PRT) in a non-intoxicated state.

RESULTS: Cann-CBD reduced the likelihood of high-effort choices relative to placebo (p = 0.042) and increased sensitivity to expected value compared to both placebo (p = 0.014) and Cann + CBD (p = 0.006). The cannabis-dependent and control groups did not differ on the EEfRT. However, the cannabis-dependent group exhibited a weaker response bias than the control group on the PRT (p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS: Cannabis acutely induced a transient amotivational state and CBD influenced the effects of THC on expected value. In contrast, cannabis dependence was associated with preserved motivation alongside impaired reward learning, although confounding factors, including depression, cannot be disregarded. This is the first well powered, fully controlled study to objectively demonstrate the acute amotivational effects of THC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3537-3552
Number of pages16
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume233
Issue number19-20
Early online date2 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

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Cannabidiol
Cannabinoids
Cannabis
Reward
Decision Making
Learning
Dronabinol
Marijuana Abuse
Health Expenditures
Placebos
Apathy
Control Groups
Drug and Narcotic Control
Motivation

Keywords

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adult
  • Cannabidiol/pharmacology
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists/pharmacology
  • Cannabis
  • Choice Behavior/drug effects
  • Decision Making/drug effects
  • Depression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dronabinol/pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning/drug effects
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse/psychology
  • Marijuana Smoking
  • Motivation/drug effects
  • Reward
  • Young Adult

Cite this

Acute and chronic effects of cannabinoids on effort-related decision-making and reward learning : an evaluation of the cannabis 'amotivational' hypotheses. / Lawn, Will; Freeman, Tom P; Pope, Rebecca A; Joye, Alyssa; Harvey, Lisa; Hindocha, Chandni; Mokrysz, Claire; Moss, Abigail; Wall, Matthew B; Bloomfield, Michael Ap; Das, Ravi K; Morgan, Celia Ja; Nutt, David J; Curran, H Valerie.

In: Psychopharmacology, Vol. 233, No. 19-20, 01.10.2016, p. 3537-3552.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lawn, W, Freeman, TP, Pope, RA, Joye, A, Harvey, L, Hindocha, C, Mokrysz, C, Moss, A, Wall, MB, Bloomfield, MA, Das, RK, Morgan, CJ, Nutt, DJ & Curran, HV 2016, 'Acute and chronic effects of cannabinoids on effort-related decision-making and reward learning: an evaluation of the cannabis 'amotivational' hypotheses', Psychopharmacology, vol. 233, no. 19-20, pp. 3537-3552. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-016-4383-x
Lawn, Will ; Freeman, Tom P ; Pope, Rebecca A ; Joye, Alyssa ; Harvey, Lisa ; Hindocha, Chandni ; Mokrysz, Claire ; Moss, Abigail ; Wall, Matthew B ; Bloomfield, Michael Ap ; Das, Ravi K ; Morgan, Celia Ja ; Nutt, David J ; Curran, H Valerie. / Acute and chronic effects of cannabinoids on effort-related decision-making and reward learning : an evaluation of the cannabis 'amotivational' hypotheses. In: Psychopharmacology. 2016 ; Vol. 233, No. 19-20. pp. 3537-3552.
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abstract = "RATIONALE: Anecdotally, both acute and chronic cannabis use have been associated with apathy, amotivation, and other reward processing deficits. To date, empirical support for these effects is limited, and no previous studies have assessed both acute effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as associations with cannabis dependence.OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were (1) to examine acute effects of cannabis with CBD (Cann + CBD) and without CBD (Cann-CBD) on effort-related decision-making and (2) to examine associations between cannabis dependence, effort-related decision-making and reward learning.METHODS: In study 1, 17 participants each received three acute vaporized treatments, namely Cann-CBD (8 mg THC), Cann + CBD (8 mg THC + 10 mg CBD) and matched placebo, followed by a 50 {\%} dose top-up 1.5 h later, and completed the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task (EEfRT). In study 2, 20 cannabis-dependent participants were compared with 20 non-dependent, drug-using control participants on the EEfRT and the Probabilistic Reward Task (PRT) in a non-intoxicated state.RESULTS: Cann-CBD reduced the likelihood of high-effort choices relative to placebo (p = 0.042) and increased sensitivity to expected value compared to both placebo (p = 0.014) and Cann + CBD (p = 0.006). The cannabis-dependent and control groups did not differ on the EEfRT. However, the cannabis-dependent group exhibited a weaker response bias than the control group on the PRT (p = 0.007).CONCLUSIONS: Cannabis acutely induced a transient amotivational state and CBD influenced the effects of THC on expected value. In contrast, cannabis dependence was associated with preserved motivation alongside impaired reward learning, although confounding factors, including depression, cannot be disregarded. This is the first well powered, fully controlled study to objectively demonstrate the acute amotivational effects of THC.",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Acute and chronic effects of cannabinoids on effort-related decision-making and reward learning

T2 - an evaluation of the cannabis 'amotivational' hypotheses

AU - Lawn, Will

AU - Freeman, Tom P

AU - Pope, Rebecca A

AU - Joye, Alyssa

AU - Harvey, Lisa

AU - Hindocha, Chandni

AU - Mokrysz, Claire

AU - Moss, Abigail

AU - Wall, Matthew B

AU - Bloomfield, Michael Ap

AU - Das, Ravi K

AU - Morgan, Celia Ja

AU - Nutt, David J

AU - Curran, H Valerie

PY - 2016/10/1

Y1 - 2016/10/1

N2 - RATIONALE: Anecdotally, both acute and chronic cannabis use have been associated with apathy, amotivation, and other reward processing deficits. To date, empirical support for these effects is limited, and no previous studies have assessed both acute effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as associations with cannabis dependence.OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were (1) to examine acute effects of cannabis with CBD (Cann + CBD) and without CBD (Cann-CBD) on effort-related decision-making and (2) to examine associations between cannabis dependence, effort-related decision-making and reward learning.METHODS: In study 1, 17 participants each received three acute vaporized treatments, namely Cann-CBD (8 mg THC), Cann + CBD (8 mg THC + 10 mg CBD) and matched placebo, followed by a 50 % dose top-up 1.5 h later, and completed the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task (EEfRT). In study 2, 20 cannabis-dependent participants were compared with 20 non-dependent, drug-using control participants on the EEfRT and the Probabilistic Reward Task (PRT) in a non-intoxicated state.RESULTS: Cann-CBD reduced the likelihood of high-effort choices relative to placebo (p = 0.042) and increased sensitivity to expected value compared to both placebo (p = 0.014) and Cann + CBD (p = 0.006). The cannabis-dependent and control groups did not differ on the EEfRT. However, the cannabis-dependent group exhibited a weaker response bias than the control group on the PRT (p = 0.007).CONCLUSIONS: Cannabis acutely induced a transient amotivational state and CBD influenced the effects of THC on expected value. In contrast, cannabis dependence was associated with preserved motivation alongside impaired reward learning, although confounding factors, including depression, cannot be disregarded. This is the first well powered, fully controlled study to objectively demonstrate the acute amotivational effects of THC.

AB - RATIONALE: Anecdotally, both acute and chronic cannabis use have been associated with apathy, amotivation, and other reward processing deficits. To date, empirical support for these effects is limited, and no previous studies have assessed both acute effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as associations with cannabis dependence.OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were (1) to examine acute effects of cannabis with CBD (Cann + CBD) and without CBD (Cann-CBD) on effort-related decision-making and (2) to examine associations between cannabis dependence, effort-related decision-making and reward learning.METHODS: In study 1, 17 participants each received three acute vaporized treatments, namely Cann-CBD (8 mg THC), Cann + CBD (8 mg THC + 10 mg CBD) and matched placebo, followed by a 50 % dose top-up 1.5 h later, and completed the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task (EEfRT). In study 2, 20 cannabis-dependent participants were compared with 20 non-dependent, drug-using control participants on the EEfRT and the Probabilistic Reward Task (PRT) in a non-intoxicated state.RESULTS: Cann-CBD reduced the likelihood of high-effort choices relative to placebo (p = 0.042) and increased sensitivity to expected value compared to both placebo (p = 0.014) and Cann + CBD (p = 0.006). The cannabis-dependent and control groups did not differ on the EEfRT. However, the cannabis-dependent group exhibited a weaker response bias than the control group on the PRT (p = 0.007).CONCLUSIONS: Cannabis acutely induced a transient amotivational state and CBD influenced the effects of THC on expected value. In contrast, cannabis dependence was associated with preserved motivation alongside impaired reward learning, although confounding factors, including depression, cannot be disregarded. This is the first well powered, fully controlled study to objectively demonstrate the acute amotivational effects of THC.

KW - Administration, Inhalation

KW - Adult

KW - Cannabidiol/pharmacology

KW - Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists/pharmacology

KW - Cannabis

KW - Choice Behavior/drug effects

KW - Decision Making/drug effects

KW - Depression

KW - Double-Blind Method

KW - Dronabinol/pharmacology

KW - Female

KW - Humans

KW - Learning/drug effects

KW - Male

KW - Marijuana Abuse/psychology

KW - Marijuana Smoking

KW - Motivation/drug effects

KW - Reward

KW - Young Adult

U2 - 10.1007/s00213-016-4383-x

DO - 10.1007/s00213-016-4383-x

M3 - Article

VL - 233

SP - 3537

EP - 3552

JO - Psychopharmacology

JF - Psychopharmacology

SN - 0033-3158

IS - 19-20

ER -