Poster F11, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
The Role of THC Concentration on the Processing of Emotional Faces
Jacob Braunwalder1, Julia Metlay1, Robert Torrence1, Lucy J Troup1; 1Colorado State University
Cannabis has been a popular recreational substance since the 1970’s. Today nearly 50% of Americans have tried Cannabis at least once with 7.3% using in the past month. Research regarding cannabis and the processing of emotional stimuli has produced mixed results depending on various factors. Most research has focused on acute administration of THC or the residual consumption of THC generally. However, the effects of consuming THC in high concentrations (i.e. cannabis concentrates and edibles) compared to consuming THC in low-to-moderate concentrations, like those found in the flower buds, on emotional processing have not been well studied. Previous emotional processing research has indicated that the N1 event-related potential component is a reliable marker for attending to emotional stimuli. This study looked for potential differences in the N1 amplitude during a facial emotion-attention task in those that primarily consume THC in high concentrations, those that consume in low concentrations, and non-cannabis users. To analyze differences in processing we utilized event related potentials. The paradigm consisted of three tasks, implicit, explicit, and empathic processing of emotional faces with four expressions in each: neutral, happy, angry, and fearful. Results indicated that those who consumed THC in high concentrations have significantly attenuated N1 amplitudes in response to positive emotions (happy) than those who consumed in lower concentrations. Additionally, non-users had larger amplitudes as well though these results were not significant. These results in context with previous research suggest that higher concentrations of THC may dampen a person’s response to positive emotionality.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotional responding