Rationale - Cannabis use is associated with neuroanatomical alterations in the hippocampus. While the hippocampus is composed of multiple subregions, their differential vulnerability to cannabis dependence remains unknown.
Objectives - The objective of the study is to investigate gray matter alteration in each of the hippocampal subregions (presubiculum, subiculum, cornu ammonis (CA) subfields CA1-4, and dentate gyrus (DG)) as associated with cannabis use and dependence.
Methods - A total of 35 healthy controls (HC), 22 non-dependent (CB-nondep), and 39 dependent (CB-dep) cannabis users were recruited. We investigated group differences in hippocampal subregion volumes between HC, CB-nondep, and CB-dep users. We further explored the association between CB use variables (age of onset of regular use, monthly use, lifetime use) and hippocampal subregions in CB-nondep and CB-dep users separately.
Results - The CA1, CA2/3, CA4/DG, as well as total hippocampal gray matter were reduced in volume in CB-dep but not in CB-nondep users, relative to HC. The right CA2/3 and CA4/DG volumes were also negatively associated with lifetime cannabis use in CB-dep users.
Conclusions - Our results suggest a regionally and dependence-specific influence of cannabis use on the hippocampus. Hippocampal alteration in cannabis users was specific to the CA and DG regions and confined to dependent users.