The Effects of Alcohol and Cannabis Co-use on Neurocognitive Function, Brain Structure, and Brain Function

Margaret F. Bedillion, Sara K. Blaine, Eric D. Claus, Emily B. Ansell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Given increases in the rates of alcohol and cannabis co-use among adolescents and young adults, this review aims to summarize literature on the effects of alcohol and cannabis co-use on neurocognitive functioning, brain structure, and brain function. Recent Findings: The limited existing studies examining concurrent, recent, and lifetime alcohol and cannabis co-use suggest effects on the brain are likely multifaceted. The majority of studies report that co-use is associated with negative outcomes such as impaired cognitive function and significant alterations in key structural and functional regions of the brain, while others report null effects of co-use compared to non-substance using control and single-substance use groups. Summary: Current studies lack a general consensus on methodology, definitions of concurrent and simultaneous use, and neuroimaging approaches, which makes it challenging to draw strong conclusions about the effects of co-use. More studies are needed to explore the effects of co-use in the context of simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-149
Number of pages16
JournalCurrent Behavioral Neuroscience Reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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