Longitudinal brain and behavioral effects of marijuana use in adolescent-onset users

In addition to alcohol, marijuana is one of the most commonly used substances of abuse among adolescents and young adults. Its effects on the brain and on behavior are poorly understood. Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and NIAAA, we are examining the longitudinal impacts of heavy chronic marijuana use in college-aged individuals who began to use the drug when they were teenagers. Findings to date suggest that heavy marijuana use is associated with disruptions in working memory, planning skills, verbal learning and memory, and motivated decision-making. We also find evidence of disruption in the young adult development of frontal white matter tracts and in striatal glutamate activity.

Selected Publications:


Muetzel, R., Marjańska, M,  Collins, P.F., Petrosko, M., Valabrègue, P., Auerbach, E.J., Lim, K.O., Luciana, M. (2013). In Vivo 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy in young-adult daily marijuana users.  Neuroimage-Clinical, 2, 581-589.

Becker, M.P., Collins, P.F., & Luciana, M.  (2014). Neurocognition in college-aged daily marijuana users.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 36 (4), 379-398. Selected as one of the journal’s top-dowloaded papers for 2014.

Becker, MP,  Collins, PF,  Lim, KO, Muetzel, RL.,  Luciana, M. (2015). Longitudinal changes in white matter microstructure after heavy cannabis use, Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 16, 23-35

Becker, M., Collins, P.F., Schultz, A., Urosevic, S. Schmaling, B., Luciana, M. (2017). Longitudinal change in cognition in young adult cannabis users. Submitted to Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2017.1385729

Camchong, J.Y., Collins, P.F., Becker, M.P., Lim, KO., Luciana, M. (2019). Longitudinal changes in resting brain connectivity in nontreatment seeking young adults with cannabis use disorder. Frontiers in Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00514.