- Cannabis dependence, cognitive control and attentional bias for cannabis words
- Addictive Behaviors
- Volume | Issue number
- 38 | 12
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
One of the characteristics of people suffering from addictive behaviors is the tendency to be distracted by drug cues. This attentional bias for drug cues is thought to lead to increased craving and drug use, and may draw individuals into a vicious cycle of drug addiction. In the current study we developed a Dutch version of the cannabis Stroop task and measured attentional bias for cannabis words in a group of heavy cannabis users and matched controls. The classical Stroop task was used as a global measure of cognitive control and we examined the relationship between cognitive control, cannabis-related problems, cannabis craving and cannabis attentional bias. Using our version of the cannabis Stroop task, a group of heavy cannabis users showed attentional bias to cannabis words, whereas a control group of non-users did not. Furthermore, within the group of cannabis users, those who were clinically recognized as dependent showed a stronger attentional bias than the heavy, non-dependent users. Cannabis users who displayed reduced cognitive control (as measured with the classical Stroop task) showed increased session-induced craving. Contrary to expectations, however, cognitive control did not appear to modulate the relationship between attentional bias to cannabis words (cannabis Stroop task) and cannabis dependence. This study confirmed the relationship between cannabis dependence and attentional bias and extends this by highlighting a moderating role for cognitive control, which may make some more vulnerable to craving.
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