What's the Rush, RI?

Advocating for Evidence Based Marijuana Policy

Cannabis use associated with reduced dopamine release

Heavy cannabis use associated with reduced dopamine release in brain: Effect similar to other addictions.

Source:  Columbia University Medical Center: 
“Heavy cannabis use associated with reduced dopamine release in brain: Effect similar to other addictions.” ScienceDaily. 14 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160414214826.htm>.

ScienceDaily Summary:
Evidence of a compromised dopamine system has been found in heavy users of marijuana. Lower dopamine release was found in the striatum — a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention. Previous studies have shown that addiction to other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin, have similar effects on dopamine release, but such evidence for cannabis was missing until now.

What’s the Rush, Research and Analysis Team Note:
Researchers also that in all participants lower dopamine release was associated with worse performance on learning and working memory tasks.  Heavy use was defined as daily for seven years beginning at age 16.

Journal Reference:
E van de Giessen, J J Weinstein, C M Cassidy, M Haney, Z Dong, R Ghazzaoui, N Ojeil, L S Kegeles, X Xu, N P Vadhan, N D Volkow, M Slifstein, A Abi-Dargham. Deficits in striatal dopamine release in cannabis dependenceMolecular Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2016.21

2 responses to “Cannabis use associated with reduced dopamine release

  1. mari1744 April 16, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Thanks, Mike!

    Jody Hensley Massachusetts iPhone 508-725-5505


  2. carolineturriff April 16, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Well this research is not a surprise. As a recovering drug addict who was using cocaine 22 hours a day and was also addicted to benzos I am surrounded by other addicts still using drugs and recovering from many drugs. The only difference between heavy marijuana use and heavy class A drug use is that marijuana costs less and so does not drive people into the criminal behaviour that class A drugs do. Also a heavy marijuana user is slightly more functional as it doesn’t make you crazy like cocaine and heroin. But marijuana use is dangerous it’s been linked to triggering psychosis in people with underlying mental health problems. I don’t think it should be legal and I think they should take the compound that makes you high out of medical marijuana.

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