Project STEP

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Project STEP website

This project is designed to integrate basic and clinical science to translate mechanisms of recovery from PTSD to testing an intervention in individuals with PTSD and marijuana use. We will recruit 72 individuals with PTSD and varying levels of marijuana use, 36 with current heavy marijuana use and 36 without current marijuana use, to complete a conditional discrimination and extinction task in order to understand the relationship between marijuana and fear learning in individuals with pathological fear. Following this task, participants will receive a brief 6 session imaginal exposure protocol (IE) to explore whether this adapted short form treatment shows increased feasibility (efficacy, reduced drop out) for individuals with co-occurring PTSD and marijuana use. We will also be able to test the link between basic fear and recovery processes by looking at the extinction task as a predictor of treatment response for individuals with and without marijuana use. This research is significant in its potential to identify a predictor of treatment response, to test an underlying mechanism of recovery for PTSD in individuals with PTSD and co-occurring marijuana use, and to test feasibility of a novel intervention for a difficult to treat population.

Project Period:
May 21, 2016 March 31, 2021

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Targeted Condition(s):
PTSD, Substance use disorders/misuse