Effects of practice on marijuana-induced changes in reaction time
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The effect of smoked marijuana on performance of complex reaction time (RT) tasks was studied in two groups receiving different amounts of practice. Group M-P had no undrugged practice on the task before performing during marijuana intoxication for four consecutive daily sessions. On the fifth test day they performed while non-intoxicated. Group P-M performed the task on four consecutive test days while non-intoxicated, then smoked marijuana on session 5. Significant RT slowing was found on session 1 for group M-P (performing during marijuana intoxication without prior practice). Performance of this group improved rapidly and by the end of session 2 was not different from undrugged performance. Group P-M (receiving four sessions of undrugged practice before marijuana intoxication) showed no RT slowing while intoxicated. Reaction time performance may involve two phases: an early, attention-demanding phase which is sensitive to drug effects and a later, “automatic”, phase which results from practice and is more resistant to drug effects.
Pulse rate, salivary flow and subjective responses were recorded before and after smoking. These physiological and subjective measures showed only slight reduction in the acute effects of the drug over the four days of repeated usage.
Key wordsMarijuana Practice Reaction time Tolerance Attention Heart rate Salivary flow Subjective effects
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