Sensation-seeking, reward sensitivity and early cannabis use

December 10, 2015

Sensation seeking is a personality trait that describes a person's tendency to seek out novel and exciting experiences, and a high level of sensation seeking has been implicated as a risk factor for addiction. According to a report today at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, in Hollywood, Florida, sensation seeking is related to reward sensitivity, which is a trait that characterizes how rewarding a person finds different experiences. Further, reward sensitivity is itself related to cannabis use, and partially explains the relationship between it and sensation seeking. Importantly, the researchers describe a school-based psychological intervention that both targets sensation seeking and affects the use of cannabis in teens, delaying the onset of first use, and slowing the progression from light to heavy cannabis use in teens already using.

In a very large sample of nearly 4000 adolescents, Dr. Patricia Conrod and her colleagues at the University of Montreal and Le Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine evaluated reward sensitivity over time. The degree of reward sensitivity was determined using a laboratory "go-no go" task, in which individuals are instructed as to when to act and when not to act, in order to obtain reward or avoid punishment. The investigators found that reward sensitivity develops differently in boys and girls and is related to whether sensation seeking is high or low. More details about this and related studies can be found online at http://www.co-venture.ca, which describes the Co-Venture Trial, in which personality-targeted interventions are evaluated for their impact on 5-year addiction outcomes and cognitive functioning.

Dr. Conrod's study suggests that psychological interventions aimed at helping youth manage sensation seeking and reward sensitivity may help reduce cannabis use. This may be particularly timely, given that teens perceive cannabis use as being low risk, even in the face of increasing evidence that cannabis use can negatively affect the developing brain and its cognitive functions.
-end-
This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Fondation de Recherche du Quebec - Santé

Presenter: Patricia Conrod, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Université de Montréal, Montréal
patricia.conrod@umontreal.ca

Media contact: Marise Daigle: Marise.daigle@recherche-ste-justine.qc.ca

ACNP, founded in 1961, is a professional organization of more than 1000 leading scientists, including four Nobel Laureates. The mission of ACNP is to further research and education in neuropsychopharmacology and related fields in the following ways: promoting the interaction of a broad range of scientific disciplines of brain and behavior in order to advance the understanding of prevention and treatment of disease of the nervous system including psychiatric, neurological, behavioral and addictive disorders; encouraging scientists to enter research careers in fields related to these disorders and their treatment; and ensuring the dissemination of relevant scientific advances.

American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Related Cannabis Articles from Brightsurf:

Cannabis to treat gynecological conditions
A significant number of women would consider using cannabis to treat gynecological conditions, primarily gynecological pain.

Cannabis data lacking, but machine learning could help
Everyone's heard of THC and CBD. But many other active compounds in cannabis interact to influence its effects.

Cannabis use for menopause symptom management
CLEVELAND, Ohio (September 28, 2020)--As legislation relaxes regarding cannabis, it is being used to manage numerous chronic health conditions and mood symptoms.

Prescribed CBD could help people quit cannabis
A benchmark clinical trial published today shows that cannabidiol (CBD) could be a safe and effective treatment for problematic cannabis use.

Pregnant women with depression are more than 3 times more likely to use cannabis
Cannabis use is much more common among pregnant women with depression and pregnant women with depression are more than 3 times more likely to use cannabis than those without depression.

Cannabis compound acts as an antibiotic 
Public health agencies worldwide have identified antibiotic resistance of disease-causing bacteria as one of humanity's most critical challenges.

Cannabis use during pregnancy
The large health care system Kaiser Permanente Northern California provides universal screening for prenatal cannabis use in women during pregnancy by self-report and urine toxicology testing.

Questions and answers about cannabis use during pregnancy
A new study shows that women have many medical questions about the use of cannabis both before and during pregnancy, and during the postpartum period while breastfeeding.

Managing cannabis use in breastfeeding women
As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use and increasingly decriminalize cannabis, the risk to the growth and development of breastfeeding infants whose mothers use cannabis becomes a growing public health concern.

Cannabis edibles present novel health risks
With the recent legalization of cannabis edibles in Canada, physicians and the public must be aware of the novel risks of cannabis edibles, argue authors in a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Read More: Cannabis News and Cannabis Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.