Project Title

Marijuana use and emotion regulation in college students

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Ebony Glover

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Marijuana reform is underway in the United States surrounding political climate at state and federal levels. The federal scheduling of marijuana generally limits research, respectively, the relationship concerning emotion regulation is even more obscure. The Affective Neuroscience Lab holds a unique advantage to contribute to this budding body of research by monitoring physiological amygdala activity and evaluating results in accordance with the KMSK self-report drug use survey measure. We utilize the fear-potentiated startle (FPS) paradigm to non-invasively monitor the psychophysiological responses (i.e., acoustic startle reflex) to conditioned stimuli (CS), shapes presented on a computer screen, sometimes paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US), an air blast directly to the larynx. Our sample, (n=104), had a higher rate of current drug use with marijuana, (21.4%), than any other drug including alcohol, (15.5%). Previous literature suggests deficits in fear memory processing when the amygdala of a rat is infused with a pharmacological correlate of marijuana. We hypothesize that participants who reported marijuana use will show greater deficits in emotion regulation than reported nonusers. This study may contribute to a deeper understanding of potential implications of marijuana use on the emotional welfare of college populations.

Keywords: marijuana, neuroscience, psychophysiological, amygdala, fear-potentiated startle, KMSK

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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Marijuana use and emotion regulation in college students

Marijuana reform is underway in the United States surrounding political climate at state and federal levels. The federal scheduling of marijuana generally limits research, respectively, the relationship concerning emotion regulation is even more obscure. The Affective Neuroscience Lab holds a unique advantage to contribute to this budding body of research by monitoring physiological amygdala activity and evaluating results in accordance with the KMSK self-report drug use survey measure. We utilize the fear-potentiated startle (FPS) paradigm to non-invasively monitor the psychophysiological responses (i.e., acoustic startle reflex) to conditioned stimuli (CS), shapes presented on a computer screen, sometimes paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (US), an air blast directly to the larynx. Our sample, (n=104), had a higher rate of current drug use with marijuana, (21.4%), than any other drug including alcohol, (15.5%). Previous literature suggests deficits in fear memory processing when the amygdala of a rat is infused with a pharmacological correlate of marijuana. We hypothesize that participants who reported marijuana use will show greater deficits in emotion regulation than reported nonusers. This study may contribute to a deeper understanding of potential implications of marijuana use on the emotional welfare of college populations.

Keywords: marijuana, neuroscience, psychophysiological, amygdala, fear-potentiated startle, KMSK