AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Study Shows Long-term Marijuana Use Changes Brain's Reward Circuit

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Patients who chronically use marjiuana have an altered reward process within their brains according to a study conducted by researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas. Based on findings in functional MRI scans, patients with a history of chronic marijuana use had more brain activity in the mesocorticolimbic-reward system when presented with cannabis cues than with natural reward cues. “This study shows that marijuana disrupts the natural reward circuitry of the brain, making marijuana highly salient to those who use it heavily. In essence, these brain alterations could be a marker of transition from recreational marijuana use to problematic use,” said Francesca Filbey, MD, director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research in Addictive Disorders at the Center for BrainHealth and associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. To read more, click here.

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