Theta band activity decreases among chronic pain sufferers and cannabis users
Abstract: About 81% of chronic pain participants believed that using cannabis is more effective in treating pain than using opioids. The effects of cannabis and chronic pain have been heavily researched, but little is known about chronic pain sufferers that use cannabis for pain treatment. Pain sufferers are subject to inhibition within the frontal lobe of the brain, while cannabis users display decreased power in theta brain waves. The hypothesis was chronic pain sufferers and cannabis users will display more inhibition in the frontal theta band (4-7 Hz) compared to healthy controls. Twenty-one participants (aged 18-30, right-handed) were administered a survey to assess cannabis use and chronic pain (> 6 months). An electroencephalogram was used to record 5 minutes of resting brain activity. Independent samples t-tests using 2 frontal lobe sensors indicated no significant differences between the pain and no pain groups (Fp1, p=.864; Fp2, p=.358), and a significant decrease of theta activity among cannabis users in 1 sensor (Fp1, p=.029; Fp2, p=.082). We conclude that cannabis use causes a decrease of left frontal lobe theta activity, possibly by a top-down inhibitory network. Data collection is ongoing.
Tracy Brown*, Kathryn Seymour, Cristian Botello, Kayli Colpitts, and Dr. Amber Harris Bozer
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