Sunk Cost Bias seen in Frequent Cannabis Users

Persisting on the Past- Cross-sectional and Prospective Associations Between Sunk Cost Propensity and Cannabis Use

Researchers have recently found that those diagnosed with cannabis use disorder are also likely to display sunk cost bias. Sunk cost bias is the overgeneralized tendency to persist based on past investment, in other words, the tendency to focus heavily on the past and perseverate more than their counterparts. In a two-part study, it was found that frequent cannabis use was positively associated with sunk cost bias and that sunk cost bias was able to predict frequent cannabis use in a separate cohort. This correlation may prove useful when developing a possible examination or screening test to determine the benefit of medical cannabis for individuals looking into cannabis-based treatments. 

Cannabis use may not be for everyone as cannabinoids can affect people differently depending on their general demeanor or perhaps some mechanism that has yet to be defined. The most abundant, and perhaps well studied, psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis is ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can affect people with anxiety very differently. Occasionally, especially when patients are hesitant to use cannabis already, THC can actually exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and therefore may not serve as the most efficient treatment for some patients. The development of a screening technique to determine how cannabinoids will affect patients before they try cannabis is desperately needed to ensure the benefit of the consumer. 

The study is available for review or download here

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Benjamin Caplan, MDSunk Cost Bias seen in Frequent Cannabis Users

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