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SWPS University - Main page

Effects of long-term use of cannabis and tobacco on cognitive functions, including psychophysiological correlates
research
finished

Effects of long-term use of cannabis and tobaccoon cognitive functions, including psychophysiological correlates

principal investigator / project leader
Aneta Brzezicka
Ph.D. / Associate Professor

neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist

Full bio
project value: PLN 180,600
funding source: Ministry of Education and Science
discipline: psychology
research center: Institute of Psychology
location: Warsaw
duration: 2019 2020

Cannabis (also known as marijuana) is among the most frequently used psychoactive substances in the world. Moreover, approximately 40 percent of all cannabis users is also addicted to tobacco. Research indicates that long-term cannabis or tobacco use affects the brain and cognitive functions such as memory, attention, speech, perception, and more complex processes like abstract thinking. In the light of numerous recent initiatives that aim to legalize cannabis, it is important to understand how this substance impacts human cognition.

Project objectives

It is well-known that human body is negatively impacted by the long-term use of cannabis and tobacco. However, we need to better understand how regular use of these substances impacts the cognitive functions. Research conducted on this topic so far, indicates that these stimulants affect the brain differently. The goal of our project is to better understand the combined effects of cannabis and tobacco use at the behavioral and psychophysiological level.

The study is important at least for two reasons:

  1. It addresses a socially significant issue of using psychoactive substances (one legal and one illegal).
  2. Thanks to the opportunity of researching both cannabis users and tobacco smokers, we will be able to assess, which of the substances is more devastating for memory and attention.

Methodology

We will compare cognitive functions in study participants who will perform two tasks requiring the use of short-term and episodic memory. The users will be divided into the following groups: regular cannabis and tobacco users, only cannabis users, only tobacco users, and non-users of cannabis or tobacco. While the study participants perform the prescribed tasks, we will record their brain activity using an electroencephalogram (EEG).

We will use the latest and currently recommended approach to research on long-term effects of cannabis use. For example, we will not rely solely on the declarations of study participants concerning cannabis use, but also use objective measurements, i.e. biochemical hair sample analysis (in collaboration with a specialized laboratory). Thanks to this testing, we will be able to exclude individuals who also use other psychoactive substances.

The stringent study inclusion criteria increase the chance of achieving results that might significantly contribute to the body of knowledge on cognitive and electro-physiological functioning of long-term cannabis and tobacco users.

The study is important at least for two reasons. Firstly, it addresses a socially significant issue of using psychoactive substances (one legal and one illegal). Secondly, thanks to the opportunity of researching both cannabis users and tobacco smokers, we will be able to assess, which of the substances is more devastating for memory and attention.

Brzezicka, Aneta Principal Investigator
Bio
Tak
Permanent employee
Tak
Role in the Faculty
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Role in the Department
{"funkcja-w-katedrze0":{"Funkcja":"","\u0141\u0105cznik":"","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Department of Biological Psychology"}}
Role in the Institute
{"funkcja-w-instytucie0":{"Funkcja":"","\u0141\u0105cznik":"","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Institute of Psychology"}}
Role in the Research Center
{"funkcja-w-centrum0":{"Funkcja":"Head","\u0141\u0105cznik":"of the","Nazwa w mianowniku":"Neurocognitive Research Center (NCRC)"}}
Specialization
neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist
First and last name
Aneta Brzezicka
Academic degree or title
Ph.D. / Associate Professor
City
warszawa
Discipline
psychology
Position
profesor uczelni
Institute
Neurocognitive Research Center (NCRC)
Faculty
Array
Ph.D. / Associate Professor Aneta Brzezickaneuroscientist and cognitive psychologist

Application of results

Cannabis is among the most frequently used psychoactive substances in the world. Over 182 million people around the world use cannabis and the numbers will increase due to the gradual legalization of this substance in different countries, and the growing trend to use marihuana for medical purposes. Despite these facts, it is still difficult to carry out research concerning cannabis use, although drug policies should be research-based and potential cannabis users should be able to make informed decisions, armed with information about the consequences of using this substance and methods of its use. Therefore, our study is crucial as it will contribute information that is otherwise difficult to obtain.


Reserch team

Bińkowska, Alicja main researcher
Bio
Tak
Permanent employee
Nie
First and last name
Alicja Bińkowska
Academic degree or title
Ph.D. / Assistant Professor
City
warszawa
Specialization
psychologist
Role in the Research Center
{"funkcja-w-centrum0":{"Funkcja":"Head","\u0141\u0105cznik":"of the","Nazwa w mianowniku":"DrugsTeam (Neurocognitive Research Center (NCRC)) "}}
Discipline
psychology
Position
adiunkt
Institute
Neurocognitive Research Center (NCRC)
Role in the Faculty
[]
Role in the Department
[]
Role in the Institute
[]
Ph.D. / Assistant Professor Alicja Bińkowskapsychologist
project manager
Monika Myśliwiec

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