Remote detection of Cannabis-related impairments in performance?

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2022 Aug;239(8):2527-2536. doi: 10.1007/s00213-022-06145-1. Epub 2022 Apr 22.


Rationale: Researchers have traditionally studied the effects of psychoactive drugs such as Cannabis in controlled laboratory settings or relied on retrospective self-reports to measure impairment. However, advances in technology afford opportunities to conduct assessments remotely.

Objectives: We considered whether objective click-stream data (time and number of clicks spent on a webpage) during an online survey could supplement self-reports of substance use problems.

Methods: The clickstream data of participants (n = 236) were examined as they completed an online study which included validated psychometric tests (Cannabis Use Disorders Identification Test-Revised, Grit-O, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, and Brief Self Control Scale). Clickstream data were compared to self-reported Cannabis use.

Results: People reporting Cannabis use within the last 4 weeks required more time and more clicks to complete the online survey, and this was specifically associated with reported frequency of use, duration of impairment, and problems with memory and concentration. Longer amounts of time and more clicks on the online questionnaire were associated with more recent Cannabis use rather than demographic factors or stimulant use.

Conclusions: These results imply clickstream data remotely detected indecision or other deficits associated with previous Cannabis use.

Keywords: Cannabis; Clickstream; Impulsivity; Indecision; Mobile phones.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Hallucinogens*
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Abuse* / psychology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self Report
  • Substance-Related Disorders*


  • Analgesics
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists
  • Hallucinogens