AUG 04, 2020 4:05 PM PDT

What happens in the Brain in Cannabis Cravers?

WRITTEN BY: Angela Dowden

Marijuana is sometimes used to help people wean themselves off other drugs addictions, such as to opioids, but can also be craved itself.

A new study looking at reactivity in various regions of the brain in frequent cannabis users gives an inkling as to what is going on in those who become dependent.  

Reporting in a recent issue of Human Brain Mapping researchers at the Center for Brain Health, University of Texas found that brain connectivity during cannabis cravings is not static but has fluctuations in connection patterns, in particular between the central executive network and nucleus accumbens. Participants were examined with a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner for the findings.

Similar fluctuations in brain network connectivity have been noted in other craving scenarios, but this is the first time it has been  noted in cannabis users.  It’s interesting to note the characteristics of the areas where there is the most brain crosstalk: the central executive network is a reward-related region, while the nucleus accumbens is an area rich in dopamine.

The study adds to the knowledge base on why people may crave and react to weed, and the changes in chemistry that may be responsible for that.

Lead author Francesca Filbey, PhD, a professor and director of cognitive neuroscience at the Centre for Brain Health, explained: “Now that we have identified there are differences in large-scale brain network patterns in long-term cannabis users when there is craving, we can use these as biomarkers of cannabis use disorder to aid treatment strategies. Future studies are needed to determine how these brain network patterns might change over the course of treatment and recovery”.

Older studies suggest only nine percent of people report abusing cannabis; however more recent evidence has suggested 30 percent of cannabis users develop some degree of a disorder, which can manifest as addiction.

 

Sources: The Growth Op, Neuroscience News

About the Author
  • I'm a Journalist and author with many year's experience of writing for both a consumer and professional audience, mostly on nutrition, health and medical prescribing. My background is food science and I'm a registered nutritionist.
You May Also Like
JUL 13, 2020
Neuroscience
Can COVID-19 Be Diagnosed by Vocal Patterns?
JUL 13, 2020
Can COVID-19 Be Diagnosed by Vocal Patterns?
Researchers from the Lincoln Laboratory have found early evidence that subtle changes in peoples' voices may indicat ...
AUG 10, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use During Pregnancy Linked to Autism
AUG 10, 2020
Cannabis Use During Pregnancy Linked to Autism
Researchers from The Ottawa Hospital in Ontario, Canada, have found that children born to mothers who used cannabis whil ...
AUG 12, 2020
Neuroscience
COVID-19 May Cause Long Term Memory Loss and Cognitive Decline
AUG 12, 2020
COVID-19 May Cause Long Term Memory Loss and Cognitive Decline
Many COVID-19 patients experience neurological symptoms. These include loss of smell and delirium, with some reporting l ...
AUG 25, 2020
Neuroscience
Dementia Kills Almost 3 Times More than Previously Thought
AUG 25, 2020
Dementia Kills Almost 3 Times More than Previously Thought
Researchers have found that around 13.6% of deaths in the U.S. may come as the result of dementia. The figure, they say, ...
SEP 13, 2020
Neuroscience
Emotion-Color Associations are the Same Globally
SEP 13, 2020
Emotion-Color Associations are the Same Globally
Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz in Germany have found that people, regardless of where they come ...
SEP 15, 2020
Neuroscience
Smartphone Data Can Predict Depression and Anxiety
SEP 15, 2020
Smartphone Data Can Predict Depression and Anxiety
Researchers from Dartmouth College have found that passively-collected data from smartphones is able to predict a person ...
Loading Comments...