Craving and emotional responses to trauma and cannabis cues in trauma-exposed cannabis users: Influence of PTSD symptom severity
Addict Behav. 2021 Sep 27;125:107126. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.107126. Online ahead of print.
Conditioned craving to trauma cues and avoidance learning have both been implicated in the high concurrence of trauma-related distress and substance misuse. Using a cue-exposure paradigm involving personalized trauma, cannabis, and neutral cues, we examined if conditioned craving and/or elevated negative affect to trauma cues are mechanisms linking PTSD and cannabis use disorder. Fifty-one trauma-exposed cannabis users were randomly presented the three cue types. Craving and emotional responses were evaluated after each cue using the Marijuana Craving Questionnaire-Short Form (Heishman et al., 2001) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson et al., 1988). Relief cannabis craving (compulsivity and emotionality) was significantly higher after trauma than cannabis and neutral cues (p’s < 0.001) and was also higher among those with more severe PTSD symptoms (p’s < 0.05). The relationship between PTSD symptom severity and cannabis craving was stronger after trauma than cannabis cues for the compulsivity component of craving (p < .05). Relief craving was also higher after the cannabis cue than after the neutral cue (expectancy and purposefulness; p < .001). Negative affect was significantly higher: after trauma than cannabis and neutral cues (p’s < 0.001); and among those with more severe PTSD symptoms (p < . 005). Positive affect was significantly lower after trauma than cannabis cues (p < .05). Trauma cue exposure might promote cannabis misuse through conditioned craving as well as the desire to relieve negative affect. Conditioned cannabis craving involving an uncontrollable compulsion to use cannabis in response to trauma reminders appears particularly likely among cannabis users with more severe PTSD symptoms.
Source: ncbi 2
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