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Long-term cannabis use may blunt the brain's motivation system
Date:7/1/2013

nia by inducing the same effects on the dopamine system that we see in schizophrenia, but this hasn't been studied in active cannabis users until now," said Dr Michael Bloomfield, from the Institute of Clinical Sciences at Imperial, who led the study.

"The results weren't what we expected, but they tie in with previous research on addiction, which has found that substance abusers people who are dependent on cocaine or amphetamine, for example have altered dopamine systems.

"Although we only looked at cannabis users who have had psychotic-like experiences while using the drug, we think the findings would apply to cannabis users in general, since we didn't see a stronger effect in the subjects who have more psychotic-like symptoms. This needs to be tested though.

"It could also explain the 'amotivational syndrome' which has been described in cannabis users, but whether such a syndrome exists is controversial."

Other studies have looked at dopamine release in former cannabis users and not seen differences with people who haven't taken cannabis, suggesting that the effects seen in this study are likely to be reversible.


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Contact: Sam Wong
sam.wong@imperial.ac.uk
44-207-594-2198
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert

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