Regular cannabis use modulates the impact of HIV on the neural dynamics serving cognitive control

Mikki Schantell, Seth D. Springer, Yasra Arif, Megan E. Sandal, Madelyn P. Willett, Hallie J. Johnson, Hannah J. Okelberry, Jennifer L. O’Neill, Pamela E. May, Sara H. Bares, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Cannabis use and HIV are independently associated with decrements in cognitive control. However, the combined effects of HIV and regular cannabis use on the brain circuitry serving higher-order cognition are unclear. Aims: Investigate the interaction between cannabis and HIV on neural interference effects during the flanker task and spontaneous activity in regions underlying higher-order cognition. Methods: The sample consisted of 100 participants, including people with HIV (PWH) who use cannabis, PWH who do not use cannabis, uninfected cannabis users, and uninfected nonusers. Participants underwent an interview regarding their substance use history and completed the Eriksen flanker task during magnetoencephalography (MEG). MEG data were imaged in the time–frequency domain and oscillatory maps depicting the neural flanker interference effect were probed for group differences. Voxel time series were then assessed for group-level differences in spontaneous activity. Results: Group differences in behavioral performance were identified along with group differences in theta and alpha neural interference responses in higher-order regions across the cortex, with nonusers with HIV generally exhibiting the most aberrant responses. Likewise, time series analyses indicated that nonusers with HIV also had significantly elevated spontaneous alpha activity in the left inferior frontal and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices (dlPFC). Finally, we found that spontaneous and oscillatory alpha activity were significantly coupled in the inferior frontal cortex and dlPFC among cannabis users, but not nonusers. Conclusions: Regular cannabis use appears to suppress the impact of HIV on spontaneous and oscillatory alpha deficits in the left inferior frontal cortex and dlPFC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1324-1337
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Cannabis use
  • HIV
  • cognitive control
  • magnetoencephalography
  • prefrontal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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