Cannabidiol (CBD) content in vaporized cannabis does not prevent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-induced impairment of driving and cognition

Thomas R. Arkell, Nicholas Lintzeris, Richard C. Kevin, Johannes G. Ramaekers, Ryan G Vandrey, Christopher Irwin, Paul S. Haber, Iain S. McGregor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The main psychoactive component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can impair driving performance. Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabis component, is thought to mitigate certain adverse effects of THC. It is possible then that cannabis containing equivalent CBD and THC will differentially affect driving and cognition relative to THC-dominant cannabis. Aims: The present study investigated and compared the effects of THC-dominant and THC/CBD equivalent cannabis on simulated driving and cognitive performance. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, within-subjects crossover design, healthy volunteers (n = 14) with a history of light cannabis use attended three outpatient experimental test sessions in which simulated driving and cognitive performance were assessed at two timepoints (20–60 min and 200–240 min) following vaporization of 125 mg THC-dominant (11% THC; < 1% CBD), THC/CBD equivalent (11% THC, 11% CBD), or placebo (< 1% THC/CBD) cannabis. Results/outcomes: Both active cannabis types increased lane weaving during a car-following task but had little effect on other driving performance measures. Active cannabis types impaired performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Task (DSST), Divided Attention Task (DAT) and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT) with impairment on the latter two tasks worse with THC/CBD equivalent cannabis. Subjective drug effects (e.g., “stoned”) and confidence in driving ability did not vary with CBD content. Peak plasma THC concentrations were higher following THC/CBD equivalent cannabis relative to THC-dominant cannabis, suggesting a possible pharmacokinetic interaction. Conclusions/interpretation: Cannabis containing equivalent concentrations of CBD and THC appears no less impairing than THC-dominant cannabis, and in some circumstances, CBD may actually exacerbate THC-induced impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychopharmacology
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Cannabidiol
Dronabinol
Cannabis
Cognition

Keywords

  • Cannabidiol
  • Cannabis
  • CBD
  • Cognition
  • Driving
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol
  • THC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Cannabidiol (CBD) content in vaporized cannabis does not prevent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-induced impairment of driving and cognition. / Arkell, Thomas R.; Lintzeris, Nicholas; Kevin, Richard C.; Ramaekers, Johannes G.; Vandrey, Ryan G; Irwin, Christopher; Haber, Paul S.; McGregor, Iain S.

In: Psychopharmacology, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Arkell, Thomas R. ; Lintzeris, Nicholas ; Kevin, Richard C. ; Ramaekers, Johannes G. ; Vandrey, Ryan G ; Irwin, Christopher ; Haber, Paul S. ; McGregor, Iain S. / Cannabidiol (CBD) content in vaporized cannabis does not prevent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-induced impairment of driving and cognition. In: Psychopharmacology. 2019.
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abstract = "Background: The main psychoactive component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can impair driving performance. Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabis component, is thought to mitigate certain adverse effects of THC. It is possible then that cannabis containing equivalent CBD and THC will differentially affect driving and cognition relative to THC-dominant cannabis. Aims: The present study investigated and compared the effects of THC-dominant and THC/CBD equivalent cannabis on simulated driving and cognitive performance. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, within-subjects crossover design, healthy volunteers (n = 14) with a history of light cannabis use attended three outpatient experimental test sessions in which simulated driving and cognitive performance were assessed at two timepoints (20–60 min and 200–240 min) following vaporization of 125 mg THC-dominant (11{\%} THC; < 1{\%} CBD), THC/CBD equivalent (11{\%} THC, 11{\%} CBD), or placebo (< 1{\%} THC/CBD) cannabis. Results/outcomes: Both active cannabis types increased lane weaving during a car-following task but had little effect on other driving performance measures. Active cannabis types impaired performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Task (DSST), Divided Attention Task (DAT) and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT) with impairment on the latter two tasks worse with THC/CBD equivalent cannabis. Subjective drug effects (e.g., “stoned”) and confidence in driving ability did not vary with CBD content. Peak plasma THC concentrations were higher following THC/CBD equivalent cannabis relative to THC-dominant cannabis, suggesting a possible pharmacokinetic interaction. Conclusions/interpretation: Cannabis containing equivalent concentrations of CBD and THC appears no less impairing than THC-dominant cannabis, and in some circumstances, CBD may actually exacerbate THC-induced impairment.",
keywords = "Cannabidiol, Cannabis, CBD, Cognition, Driving, Tetrahydrocannabinol, THC",
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AU - Arkell, Thomas R.

AU - Lintzeris, Nicholas

AU - Kevin, Richard C.

AU - Ramaekers, Johannes G.

AU - Vandrey, Ryan G

AU - Irwin, Christopher

AU - Haber, Paul S.

AU - McGregor, Iain S.

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - Background: The main psychoactive component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can impair driving performance. Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabis component, is thought to mitigate certain adverse effects of THC. It is possible then that cannabis containing equivalent CBD and THC will differentially affect driving and cognition relative to THC-dominant cannabis. Aims: The present study investigated and compared the effects of THC-dominant and THC/CBD equivalent cannabis on simulated driving and cognitive performance. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, within-subjects crossover design, healthy volunteers (n = 14) with a history of light cannabis use attended three outpatient experimental test sessions in which simulated driving and cognitive performance were assessed at two timepoints (20–60 min and 200–240 min) following vaporization of 125 mg THC-dominant (11% THC; < 1% CBD), THC/CBD equivalent (11% THC, 11% CBD), or placebo (< 1% THC/CBD) cannabis. Results/outcomes: Both active cannabis types increased lane weaving during a car-following task but had little effect on other driving performance measures. Active cannabis types impaired performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Task (DSST), Divided Attention Task (DAT) and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT) with impairment on the latter two tasks worse with THC/CBD equivalent cannabis. Subjective drug effects (e.g., “stoned”) and confidence in driving ability did not vary with CBD content. Peak plasma THC concentrations were higher following THC/CBD equivalent cannabis relative to THC-dominant cannabis, suggesting a possible pharmacokinetic interaction. Conclusions/interpretation: Cannabis containing equivalent concentrations of CBD and THC appears no less impairing than THC-dominant cannabis, and in some circumstances, CBD may actually exacerbate THC-induced impairment.

AB - Background: The main psychoactive component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can impair driving performance. Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabis component, is thought to mitigate certain adverse effects of THC. It is possible then that cannabis containing equivalent CBD and THC will differentially affect driving and cognition relative to THC-dominant cannabis. Aims: The present study investigated and compared the effects of THC-dominant and THC/CBD equivalent cannabis on simulated driving and cognitive performance. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, within-subjects crossover design, healthy volunteers (n = 14) with a history of light cannabis use attended three outpatient experimental test sessions in which simulated driving and cognitive performance were assessed at two timepoints (20–60 min and 200–240 min) following vaporization of 125 mg THC-dominant (11% THC; < 1% CBD), THC/CBD equivalent (11% THC, 11% CBD), or placebo (< 1% THC/CBD) cannabis. Results/outcomes: Both active cannabis types increased lane weaving during a car-following task but had little effect on other driving performance measures. Active cannabis types impaired performance on the Digit Symbol Substitution Task (DSST), Divided Attention Task (DAT) and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT) with impairment on the latter two tasks worse with THC/CBD equivalent cannabis. Subjective drug effects (e.g., “stoned”) and confidence in driving ability did not vary with CBD content. Peak plasma THC concentrations were higher following THC/CBD equivalent cannabis relative to THC-dominant cannabis, suggesting a possible pharmacokinetic interaction. Conclusions/interpretation: Cannabis containing equivalent concentrations of CBD and THC appears no less impairing than THC-dominant cannabis, and in some circumstances, CBD may actually exacerbate THC-induced impairment.

KW - Cannabidiol

KW - Cannabis

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KW - Cognition

KW - Driving

KW - Tetrahydrocannabinol

KW - THC

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