Washington : According to a recent study, smoking cannabis does have a detrimental effect on the brain.
The drug compromises the release of dopamine, a chemical that is integral to the brain’s reward system, in areas of the brain linked to learning and memory.
Lead author Anissa Abi-Dargham, from Columbia University Medical Center, said that the bottom line is that long-term, heavy cannabis use may impair the dopaminergic system, which could have a variety of negative effects on learning and behavior.
Researchers noted lower levels of dopamine release in the striatum, a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behaviour and attention.
Their study included 11 adults, between the ages of 21 and 40, who were severely dependent on cannabis and 12 matched, healthy control participants.
Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, chair of psychiatry at CUMC and past president of the American Psychiatric Association, noted that these findings add to the growing body of research demonstrating the potentially adverse effects of cannabis, particularly in youth, at the same time that government policies and laws are increasing access and use.
The research is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. (ANI)