Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Schizophrenia Awareness Week Dopamine Dip
15 November 2013

Dopamine Dip

Cannabis is the most widely-used of illegal substances. The active component of the plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), meddles with the chemical balance of our brains inducing memory loss and anxiety. Studies have linked cannabis use to mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. Regular users, who experienced psychotic-like symptoms while under the influence, were the subject of a recent investigation into the effects of cannabis on the brain. The study found that smoking cannabis often tends to lower levels of the brain chemical dopamine in the striatum (purple-blue), as shown in this scan. Low dopamine is associated with low levels of motivation. The good news is that this effect was found to be reversible.

Written by Brona McVittie

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