Association of Marijuana Use with Changes in Cognitive Processing Speed and Flexibility for 17 Years in HIV-Seropositive and HIV-Seronegative Men

Chukwuemeka N. Okafor, Michael W. Plankey, Michael Li, Xinguang Chen, Pamela J. Surkan, Steve Shoptaw, Eileen Martin, Ronald Cohen, Ned Sacktor, Robert L. Cook

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Abstract

Background: The long-term effects of marijuana on cognition, particularly in the context of HIV is not clear, as extant research shows mixed findings. Objective: To determine associations between current and cumulative exposure to marijuana and changes in cognitive processing speed and flexibility in 788 HIV-seropositive (HIV+) and 1,132 HIV-seronegative (HIV−) men followed for up to 17 years in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. Results: Among HIV+ men only, current daily marijuana use compared to none-use, was significantly associated with a greater annual percentage decline in cognitive processing speed assessed with the Trail Making Test A (TMTA) (β=−0.41, 95% confidence interval (CI): −0.88, −0.03, p=0.03)] and Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) (β= −0.14, 95% CI: −0.28, −0.01, p=0.04). Further, monthly marijuana use was associated with greater annual percentage decline in cognitive flexibility assessed with the Trail Making Test B (TMTB) (β= −0.70, 95% CI: −1.34, −0.05; p=0.03] and cognitive processing speed (SDMT) (β= −0.21, 95% CI: −0.40, −0.01, p=0.03). Among the HIV− men only, each 5-marijuana use-years (equivalent to 5-years of daily marijuana use) was significantly associated with a 0.17 annual percentage decline in cognitive processing speed only (TMTA) (β= −0.18, 95% CI: −0.36, −0.01; p=0.04). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that marijuana use, particularly current use, may be associated with worse cognitive processing speed, but the magnitude of the estimates was not clinically meaningful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-537
Number of pages13
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 21 2019

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Keywords

  • HIV
  • Marijuana
  • cognition
  • longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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