Acute nicotine abstinence in cigarette smokers results in deficits in performance on specific cognitive processes, including working memory and impulsivity which are important in relapse. Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis, has shown pro-cognitive effects and preliminary evidence has indicated it can reduce the number of cigarettes smoked in dependent smokers. However, the effects of CBD on cognition have never been tested during acute nicotine withdrawal. The present study therefore aimed to investigate if CBD can improve memory and reduce impulsivity during acute tobacco abstinence. Thirty, non-treatment seeking, dependent, cigarette smokers attended two laboratory-based sessions after overnight abstinence, in which they received either 800 mg oral CBD or placebo (PBO), in a randomised order. Abstinence was biologically verified. Participants were assessed on go/no-go, delay discounting, prose recall and N-back (0-back, 1-back, 2-back) tasks. The effects of CBD on delay discounting, prose recall and the N-back (correct responses, maintenance or manipulation) were null, confirmed by a Bayesian analysis, which found evidence for the null hypothesis. Contrary to our predictions, CBD increased commission errors on the go/no-go task. In conclusion, a single 800 mg dose of CBD does not improve verbal or spatial working memory, or impulsivity during tobacco abstinence.
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