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Acute marijuana effects on response–reinforcer relations under multiple variable-interval schedules

Lane, S. D.a b; Cherek, D. R.a b; Pietras, C. J.c; Tcheremissine, O. V.a

doi: 10.1097/01.fbp.0000135003.80318.97

Acute marijuana administration may alter response–reinforcer relationships via a change in reinforcer efficacy, but may also impair coordination and motor function. One approach to evaluating drug effects on both motor function and reinforcer efficacy involves fitting the matching law equation to data obtained under multiple variable interval (VI) schedules. The present report describes an experiment that examined the effects of acute marijuana on response properties using this approach. Six human subjects responded under a multiple VI schedule for monetary reinforcers after smoking placebo and two active doses of marijuana. The low marijuana dose produced unsystematic changes in responding. As measured by the matching law equation parameters (k and rB), at the high dose five subjects showed a decrease-motor-related properties of response rate and four subjects' responding indicated a decrease in reinforcer efficacy. These data raise the possibility that, at high doses, marijuana administration alters both motor function and reinforcer efficacy.

aDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

bGraduate School of Biomedical Science, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston

cDepartment of Psychology, Western Michigan University, USA

Sponsorship: This research was supported by NIDA grant DA R01.12968.

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Scott D. Lane Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston, 1300 Moursund St., Houston, TX 77030, USA


Received 18 November 2003 Accepted as revised 18 May 2004

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.