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Although marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the US, only a small portion of users go on to develop dependence, suggesting that there are substantial individual differences in vulnerability to marijuana-related problems among users. Deficits in working memory and high trait impulsivity are two factors that may place marijuana users at increased risk for experiencing related problems. Using baseline data from an experimental study that recruited 104 frequent marijuana users (M=71.86% of prior 60 days, SD=22%), we examined the associations of working memory and trait impulsivity with marijuana-related problems. Lower working memory, as measured by Trail Making Test B, but not short-term memory capacity, predicted more marijuana-related problems. Higher trait impulsivity scores were independently associated with greater number of problems. Results suggest that marijuana users with reduced executive cognitive ability are more susceptible to developing problems related to their use. Trait impulsivity and executive working memory appear to be independent risk factors for experiencing marijuana-related problems. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Anne M Day, Jane Metrik, Nichea S Spillane, Christopher W Kahler. Working memory and impulsivity predict marijuana-related problems among frequent users. Drug and alcohol dependence. 2013 Jul 01;131(1-2):171-4

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PMID: 23312340

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