Virtual Reality Cannabis Cue Exposure Assessment System

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R41DA018454-01
Agency Tracking Number: DA018454
Amount: $144,526.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (678) 407-5204
Business Contact
Phone: (404) 634-3400
Research Institution
Decauter, GA, 30602
 Nonprofit college or university
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This proposed project seeks to develop and test the feasibility of a human laboratory and clinically based virtual reality cannabis cue exposure assessment system (VR-CCA) for cannabis abuse and dependence. Traditional assessment methods (cue exposure) involve bringing persons into austere laboratory or clinical environments and using photos, video, paraphernalia or therapist role playing to elicit and assess reactions. While this results in reactions, the inherent lack of ecological validity may limit generalization of traditional cue exposure in treatment programs. Virtual reality exposure (VRE) combines computer graphics with sensory input devices including: tracking devices, visual head mounted displays (HMD), and directional audio designed to immerse a participant in a computer-generated virtual environment. VR-CCA for cannabis would combine the elements of VR with specific drug cues, environments, drug related social interactions, olfactory cues (various scents) and other associated stimuli in the safe, confidential and controlled lab or office setting. VR-CCA combining video images and exposure to complex cues can expand traditional assessment methods (i.e. cue-exposure/reactivity) approaches and offer distinct advantages over traditional approaches. This project will focus on the development of a VR-CCA combining both computer generated and video images depicting cannabis smoking cues (e.g. cannabis cigarettes, pipes, burning joints) and cannabis smoking social interactions (e.g. being offered a cannabis cigarette in a social context). The feasibility of VR-CCA will be tested in an open clinical pilot trial with current cannabis smokers. Twenty cannabis smokers will be exposed to both VR neutral stimuli and VR drug (cannabis) stimuli. Physiological arousal and self-reported craving and mood will be compared between the VR neutral and VR drug (cannabis) stimuli. The aim of this project is to develop and pilot test VR-CCA for cannabis smokers. The long-term goal is to develop and test the VR-CCA, and develop affordable turnkey, VR-CCA systems that will be commercially available to substance abuse programs, individual therapists, hospitals, and drug addiction researchers for assessment and treatment of cannabis and other drugs of abuse.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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