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Brain dopamine release reduced in severe marijuana dependence | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Brain dopamine release reduced in severe marijuana dependence | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


Brain dopamine release reduced in severe marijuana dependence

Science Spotlight
March 22, 2016
PET-CT axial scan of the brain©istockphoto/wenht
NIDA-funded research using brain scans shows that severe marijuana dependence (now referred to as cannabis use disorder) is associated with a reduced release of dopamine within the striatum, a region involved in working memory, impulsivity and attention. Lower dopamine release within the striatum was associated with greater emotional withdrawal and inattention in marijuana-dependent participants.
Most drugs of abuse lead to a general blunting of dopamine release which contributes to poor outcomes. These results are similar to those found with other behavioral health disorders, suggesting a similar mechanism underlying these deficits across conditions. The reduction in dopamine release for marijuana-dependent participants, compared to those who were not dependent, was not due to major psychiatric illnesses, or to the use of other drugs, since participants with these characteristics were excluded from the study.
For a copy of the abstract, "Deficits in striatal dopamine release in cannabis dependence," co-authored by NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow and published in Molecular Psychiatry, go towww.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/mp201621a.html.
For more information about marijuana and marijuana use disorder, go to:https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-marijuana
For more information, contact the NIDA press office atmedia@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245. Follow NIDA onTwitter and Facebook.

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About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found atwww.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found atwww.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitterand Facebook.
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This page was last updated March 2016

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