Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #492
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Cannabis Use Disorder: Determining Mechanisms and Developing Interventions

Monday, May 29, 2017
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 4
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Joshua Anthony Lile, Ph.D.
Chair: Matthew W. Johnson (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
JOSHUA ANTHONY LILE (University of Kentucky)
Joshua Lile is a tenured Associate Professor of Behavioral Science, Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Kentucky. He earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Wake Forest with Mike Nader. His graduate research focused on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic determinants of the reinforcing effects of stimulants using non-human primate models of drug abuse. He then completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Medical Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky with Craig Rush and Tom Kelly, where he extended his expertise by studying substance use disorders using human laboratory methods. As a faculty member, Dr. Lile established an independent program of research on cannabis use disorder aimed at identifying non-cannabinoid neurotransmitter systems involved in the abuse-related effects of cannabis and screening potential treatment interventions in cannabis users. During this time, he has also been involved as a co-investigator on several projects to develop interventions for stimulant use disorder, and recently he established and validated functionally equivalent IV cocaine self-administration procedures in humans and rhesus monkeys as a platform for translational research on mechanisms of cocaine reinforcement. Throughout his career, Dr. Lile has also been involved in research on the role of individual differences such as personality, sex and hormones, as well as the environment, on the abuse liability of drugs, and more recently has incorporated neuroimaging and non-invasive brain stimulation methods into his research. These scientific efforts have yielded over 60 original research articles. In addition to these research efforts, Dr. Lile is a member of the University of Kentucky Institutional Review Board, and is an active educator and mentor, particularly through his involvement in the Behavioral Science department's graduate program in Clinical and Translational Science. In 2004 Dr. Lile received the American Psychological Association Division 28 Outstanding Dissertation Award, and in 2012 he received the College on Problems of Drug Dependence Joseph Cochin Young Investigator Award.

The landscape surrounding cannabis use is changing dramatically. Legalized medical and recreational use is spreading, habitual use is growing, perceptions of harm are decreasing and the concentration of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient, is rising; consequently, increased problems associated with cannabis use have been predicted. A better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie cannabis use disorder and effective treatments are therefore needed. This presentation will describe the use of human drug discrimination procedures to determine the neuropharmacological mechanisms of the interoceptive effects of THC and identify targets for treatment. This research has demonstrated that GABA and voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCC) are involved in the response to cannabis in humans. This presentation will then discuss the use of human laboratory drug self-administration procedures, combined with medication maintenance, as a strategy for determining the initial safety, tolerability and efficacy of ligands at these targets as potential treatments. Studies with the GABA reuptake inhibitor tiagabine and the VDCC ligand pregabalin will be described. Lastly, the presentation will include initial results from research that has integrated neuroimaging, non-invasive electrical brain stimulation and acute drug administration techniques to study cannabis-use disorder.

Target Audience: Behavior analysts interested in cannabis use disorder
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, the participant will be able to: (1) describe the current state of cannabis use in the US and cannabis use disorder; (2) describe the use of human laboratory procedures based on operant psychology principles (i.e., drug discrimination and drug self-administration) to study cannabis and cannabinoid effects; (3) describe the involvement of GABA receptors and voltage-dependent calcium channels in the behavioral effects of cannabis and cannabinoids.



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