1. Cannabis use disorder and the brain: What’s culture got to do with it?
Introduction and aims: Global changes in legal climate warrant direct investigations of potential effects of cannabisrelated cultural factors on CUD. This neuroimaging study aimed to determine similarities and differences in the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying cannabis approach and avoidance behavior CUDs in cannabis users with CUD from the Netherlands (long-term liberal) and Texas, USA (illegal). Moreover, we assessed the role of perceived cannabis culture herein.
Method/ approach: A total of 130 participants with a CUD and 100 matched controls performed the Cannabis Approach-Avoidance task while brain activity was recorded. Associations between brain activity and severity of cannabis use and CUD symptoms were assessed, and the potential moderating role of site and perceived cannabis culture.
Key findings: Preliminary behavioural analysis of cultural perceptions showed an interaction effect between site and group. Dutch users perceived less positive and more negative effects of cannabis use than Texan users. Texan users reported experiencing tighter social cannabis norms than Dutch users. Dutch participants in general perceived people in their region to hold both more positive and negative beliefs about the effects of cannabis compared to Texan participants. Neuroimaging analysis in ongoing and final behavioural and neuroimaging results will be presented during the talk.
Discussions: This cross-cultural neuroimaging study is an important first step to uncover culturally dependent and independent targets for prevention and treatment. Dutch and Texan participants with a CUD from two uniquely distinct cannabis jurisdictions perceived the effects of cannabis and the believes their environment has about cannabis differently. The final findings and their potential implications will be discussed during the talk.