Cannabis, caffeine, and tobacco use are associated with increased mesolimbic dopamine activity. Ascorbic acid (AA) modulates some dopaminergic agent effects, and was recently found to decrease systolic blood pressure (SBP) stress reactivity. To examine how AA SBP stress reactivity protection varies by use of these substances, data from an AA trial (Cetebe, 3000 mg/day for 14 days; N=108) were compared by substance use level regarding SBP reactivity to the anticipation and actual experience phases of a standardized psychological stressor (10 min of public speaking and arithmetic). Self-reported never users of cannabis, persons not currently smoking tobacco, and persons consuming three or more caffeine beverages daily all exhibited AA SBP stress reactivity protection to the actual stressor, but not during the anticipation phase. Conversely, self-reported ever cannabis users, current tobacco smokers, and persons consuming less than three caffeine beverages daily exhibited the AA SBP protection during the anticipation phase, but only the lower caffeine consumption group exhibited AA protection during both phases. Covariates (neuroticism, extraversion, and depression scores, age, sex, body mass index) were all nonsignificant. Results are discussed in terms of dopaminergic effects of these substances, modulation of catecholaminergic and endothelial activity, and AA support of coping styles.
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