Modeling the Comorbidity of Cannabis Abuse and Conduct Disorder/Conduct Problems from a Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Objective: A cognitive neuroscience perspective seeks to understand behavior, in this case the comorbidity of cannabis abuse and conduct disorder/conduct problems, in terms of dysfunction in cognitive processes underpinned by neural processes. The goal of this review is to articulate a cognitive neuroscience account of this comorbidity. Methods: Literature on the following issues will be reviewed: (i) the longitudinal relationship between cannabis abuse and conduct disorder/conduct problems (CD/CP); (ii) the extent to which there are genetic and environmental (specifically maltreatment) factors that underpin this relationship; (iii) forms of neurocognitive function that are reported dysfunctional in CD/CP and also, when dysfunctional, appear to be risk factors for future cannabis abuse; and (iv) the extent to which cannabis abuse may further compromise these systems leading to increased future abuse and greater conduct problems. Results: CD/CP typically predate cannabis abuse. There appear to be shared genetic factors that contribute to the relationship between CD/CP and cannabis abuse. Moreover, trauma exposure increases risk for both cannabis abuse and CP/CD. One form of neurocognitive dysfunction, response disinhibition, that likely exacerbates the symptomatology of many individuals with CD also appears to increase the risk for cannabis abuse. The literature with respect to other forms of neurocognitive dysfunction remains inconclusive. Conclusions: Based on the literature, a causal model of the comorbidity of cannabis abuse and CD/CP is developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Dual Diagnosis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020



  • Cannabis use disorder
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • conduct disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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