Sunday, January 15, 2017

Study: Long-term marijuana use changes brain's reward circuit

The recent legalization of marijuana use in California and many other states inspired Health Train Express to publish a series of articles on the use of Marijuana.

Chronic marijuana use disrupts the brain's natural reward processes, according to researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.


In many ways this legalization follows the aftermath of 'prohibition' of alcohol many decades ago. History repeats itself.  The course now set before us very much mirrors that of  alcohol.

Caveat emptor !  Beware.  Most of the same caveats apply to marijuana as they do to alcohol. Legalizing marijuana use is in no way any safer than using alcohol.  Addiction and abuse are major dangers.  Government now will tax sales in lieu of the cost of enforcment and the many lives that are imprisoned for minor infractions using marijuana in the past.

Scientific peer reviewed articles have been published in the past decade

This is the first of a number of article on legalization ofMarijuana.

Dependence alters the brain's response to pot paraphernalia

New research from The University of Texas at Dallas demonstrates that drug paraphernalia triggers the reward areas of the brain differently in dependent and non-dependent marijuana users.
The study, published July 1 in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, demonstrated that different areas of the brain activated when dependent and non-dependent users were exposed to drug-related cues.
The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. According to a 2013 survey from the Pew Research Center, 48 percent of Americans ages 18 and older have tried marijuana. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that 9 percent of daily users will become dependent on marijuana.
"We know that people have a hard time staying abstinent because seeing cues for the  use triggers this intense desire to seek out the drugs," said Dr. Francesca Filbey, lead author of the study and professor at the Center for BrainHealth in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. "That's a clinically validated phenomenon and behavioral studies have also shown this to be the case. What we didn't know was what was driving those effects in the brain."
To find this effect, Filbey and colleagues conducted brain-imaging scans, called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), on 71 participants who regularly used marijuana. Just more than half of those were classified as dependent users. While being scanned, the participants were given either a used marijuana pipe or a pencil of approximately the same size that they could see and feel.Marijuana has been shown to have some therapeutic effects

Study: Long-term marijuana use changes brain's reward circuit
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