This website is intended for Medical Professionals only. By using this site you confirm that you are a healthcare professional.

News
What makes some people more receptive to the ... Three factors are identified as the primary motivators, ... (22 Jul 2019)
Diabetes medications masking surgical ... A new class of diabetes medications is masking the potentially ... (22 Jul 2019)
Self-injuring young girls overestimate ... Adolescent girls who self-injure feel that they receive more ... (21 Jul 2019)
Depressed by Facebook and the like The answers to the question of whether using social networks can ... (19 Jul 2019)
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can ... Caution is warranted before prescribing TRT for men older than ... (19 Jul 2019)
Tuesday, 18 June 2019 11:52

Formation of habitual use drives cannabis addiction Featured

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Individual differences in brain systems for habitual behavior distinguish heavy cannabis users who develop an addiction

A shift from brain systems controlling reward-driven use to habit-driven use differentiates heavy cannabis users who are addicted to the drug from users who aren’t, according to a study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, published by Elsevier. The findings help explain how the brain becomes dependent on cannabis, and why not all cannabis users develop an addiction, even with long-term regular use.

In the study, researchers at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and University of Bonn, Germany, used brain imaging to monitor neural activity when cannabis users viewed images associated with cannabis use, referred to as drug cues. Although all of the cannabis users in the study reported heavy use, only some were dependent on the drug. Both dependent and non-dependent cannabis users had exaggerated responses in a brain region that processes reward—the ventral striatum—compared with people who didn’t use cannabis. Interestingly, the dependent users also had larger responses in a brain region that forms habits—the dorsal striatum.

“The present findings reflect that heavy cannabis use is promoted by changes in the brain’s reward system—however, these changes alone may not fully explain addictive use. Addictive use may rather be driven by changes in brain systems that promote habitual—automatic—use, which also may explain the fact that addicts continue use despite a lack of experiencing rewarding effects of the drug. As such, their behavior has become under the control of the drug cues, rather than the actual reward expectation,” said lead author Benjamin Becker, PhD.

Dependent users also had increased responses in other regions throughout the brain, including regions that attribute importance to things, for example, drug cues. This suggests that the development of cannabis addiction incorporates additional brain regions that may strengthen a person’s desire to seek the drug.

“Cannabis is now legal for medical and recreational use in many parts of the United States and the health impacts of this development are still being understood,” said Cameron Carter, MD, Editor of Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. “These findings are important insights that can help us better understand why some individuals might be more likely to become addicted to cannabis,” he added.

Differentiating the unique brain circuits behind dependent cannabis use could also be useful for understanding how to combat the problem of cannabis addiction. “The identification of the dorsal striatum and habitual behavior as a driver of addiction may allow the development of more specific treatment approaches to increase treatment success,” said first author Xinqi Zhou.


Source: Elsevier
Full bibliographic information

The article is "Cue-reactivity in the ventral striatum characterizes heavy cannabis use, whereas reactivity in the dorsal striatum mediates dependent use," Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, published by Elsevier.

Read 124 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 20:25

Latest news

Highlights

Join

Connect with other Medical Professionals on fb in a closed facebook group

Login

Top
We use cookies to improve our website. By continuing to use this website, you are giving consent to cookies being used. More details…