Effects of cannabis on brain neurochemistry

A new study of addiction biology provides the first evidence of a blunt reaction to dopamine signals caused by stress in the prefrontal cortex in people at high risk of psychosis who regularly consume marijuana.

Little is known about the effects of cannabis on brain neurochemistry and, in particular, on dopamine signaling. Note that a recent analysis found an association between dose response between increased cannabis use and an increased risk of schizophrenia associated with abnormal synthesis and release of dopamine in the brain.

The results of this latest study are important given the global trend towards legalization of cannabis and increasing evidence of increased psychosocial risk among vulnerable adolescents.

Regular use of cannabis has a profound effect on cortical dopamine function, especially those related to stress responses, which are very important for young adults who are at risk for psychosis. These results highlight the need for additional research on the effects of cannabis on brain neurochemistry, especially in populations at risk for psychosis.

Further Reading: Wiley

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