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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

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