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Adolescent cannabis use, change in neurocognitive function, and high-school graduation: A longitudinal study from early adolescence to young adulthood

  • Natalie Castellanos-Ryan (a1) (a2), Jean-Baptiste Pingault (a3) (a4), Sophie Parent (a1), Frank Vitaro (a1) (a2), Richard E. Tremblay (a2) (a5) and Jean R. Séguin (a1) (a2)...
Abstract
Abstract

The main objective of this prospective longitudinal study was to investigate bidirectional associations between adolescent cannabis use (CU) and neurocognitive performance in a community sample of 294 young men from ages 13 to 20 years. The results showed that in early adolescence, and prior to initiation to CU, poor short-term and working memory, but high verbal IQ, were associated with earlier age of onset of CU. In turn, age of CU onset and CU frequency across adolescence were associated with (a) specific neurocognitive decline in verbal IQ and executive function tasks tapping trial and error learning and reward processing by early adulthood and (b) lower rates of high-school graduation. The association between CU onset and change in neurocognitive function, however, was found to be accounted for by CU frequency. Whereas the link between CU frequency across adolescence and change in verbal IQ was explained (mediated) by high school graduation, the link between CU frequency and tasks tapping trial and error learning were independent from high school graduation, concurrent cannabis and other substance use, adolescent alcohol use, and externalizing behaviors. Findings support prevention efforts aimed at delaying onset and reducing frequency of CU.

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Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jean R. Séguin, Centre de recherche du CHU Ste.-Justine, Université de Montréal, 3175 Chemin de la Côte Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3T 1C5, Canada; E-mail: jean.seguin@umontreal.ca.
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