Víctor E. Olalde-Mathieu, Daniel Atilano-Barbosa, Arafat Angulo-Perkins, Giovanna L Licea-Haquet, Cesar Arturo Dominguez-Frausto, Fernando A. Barrios, Sarael Alcauter
November 8, 2023
It has been reported that cannabis consumption affects the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a structure with a central role in mediating the empathic response. In this study, we compared psychometric scores of empathy subscales, between a group of regular cannabis users (85, users) and a group of non-consumers (51, controls). We found that users have a greater Emotional Comprehension, a cognitive empathy trait involving the understanding of the “other” emotional state. Resting state functional MRI in a smaller sample (users = 46, controls = 34) allowed to identify greater functional connectivity (FC) of the ACC with the left somatomotor cortex (SMC), in users when compared to controls. These differences were also evident within the empathy core network, where users showed greater within network FC. The greater FC showed by the users is associated with emotional representational areas and empathy-related regions. In addition, the differences in psychometric scores suggest that users have more empathic comprehension. These findings suggest a potential association between cannabis use, a greater comprehension of the other’s affective state and the functional brain organization of the users. However, further research is needed to explore such association, since many other factors may be at play.
Olalde‐Mathieu, V. E., Atilano‐Barbosa, D., Angulo‐Perkins, A., Licea‐Haquet, G. L., Dominguez‐Frausto, C. A., Barrios, F. A., & Alcauter, S. (2024). Empathy‐related differences in the anterior cingulate functional connectivity of regular cannabis users when compared to controls. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 102(1), e25252.