Reduction in Cannabis Use and Functional Status in Physical Health, Mental Health, and Cognition

Larissa J. Mooney*, Yuhui Zhu, Caroline Yoo, Jonathan Valdez, Kevin Moino, Jung Yu Liao, Yih Ing Hser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Treatment for substance use disorders has traditionally been abstinence-oriented, but evaluating the merits of low-level cannabis use as potential treatment endpoint may identify benefits that are clinically relevant for treatment-seeking individuals who do not attain abstinence. This study explores if reduction in cannabis use to a lower level of use is related to improved physical health, mental health, and perceived cognitive functions. Study participants with a history of problematic cannabis use (n = 111) completed assessments. Regression models were used to explore the relationship between past 30-day cannabis use levels (abstinent [57%], low use [22%] defined as less than or equal to 3 days per week, and heavy use [22%] defined as 4 or more days of use per week) and functional status in physical health, mental health, and cognition. Compared to heavy users, both abstinent and low-use individuals were similarly associated with better global health, appetite, and depression outcomes. Abstinent users also reported improved sleep, anxiety, and self-reported cognitive functioning relative to heavy users. Thus, reduction in cannabis use to lower levels is associated with beneficial outcomes important to health and other areas of functioning in individuals with problematic cannabis use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-487
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of NeuroImmune Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1


  • Cannabis use
  • Cognition
  • Functional outcomes
  • Health
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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