RATIONALE: Experimental laboratory studies suggest that the approach bias (relatively fast approach responses) toward substance-related
materials plays an important role in problematic substance use. How this bias is moderated by intention to use versus recent
use remains unknown. Moreover, the relationship between approach bias and other motivational processes (satiation and craving)
and executive functioning remains unclear.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the cannabis approach
bias before and after cannabis use in real-life setting (Amsterdam coffee shops) and to assess the relationship between approach
bias, craving, satiation, cannabis use, and response inhibition.
METHODS: Cannabis, tobacco, and neutral approach and
avoidance action tendencies were measured with the Approach Avoidance Task and compared between 42 heavy cannabis users with
the intention to use and 45 heavy cannabis users shortly after cannabis use. The classical Stroop was used to measure response
inhibition. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate relationships between approach bias, satiation, craving,
cannabis use, and response inhibition.
RESULTS: In contrast to the hypotheses, heavy cannabis users with the intention
to use did not show a cannabis approach bias, whereas intoxicated cannabis users did show an approach bias regardless of image
category. This could be attributed to a general slowing of avoidance action tendencies. Moreover, craving was negatively associated
with the approach bias, and no relationships were observed between the cannabis approach bias, satiation, prior cannabis use,
and response inhibition.
CONCLUSION: Cannabis intoxication in a real-life setting inhibited general avoidance. Expression
of the cannabis approach bias appeared not to be modulated by satiation or response inhibition.