Cannabinoids and Dopamine: How do They Relate in the Brain? | cannabisMD

Cannabinoids and Dopamine: How do They Relate in the Brain?

Are cannabinoids and dopamine related in the brain

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that can be generated in a lab (usually for testing purposes now) or appear naturally within plants, animals and humans. Cannabinoids we refer to commonly are CBD which is short for cannabidiol and THC which is short for Tetrahydrocannabinol. CBD has been studied in a number of scientific and clinical studies which show it to be a natural anti-inflammatory. Anecdotal evidence has been supporting these claims for many years especially in regards to glaucoma, where inflammation is connected to pressure put on the eye by fluid. The study we refer to in this research article relates to cannabinoids like CBD & THC, and their effect on dopamine.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Cannabinoids could modulate dopamine system

Increases in mesolimbic dopamine signalling is seen when animals are given all known substances of abuse, including cannabis, and to conditioned stimuli predicting their availability. On the other hand, reductions in mesolimbic dopamine receptor function are seen during drug withdrawal, including cannabis-withdrawal condition. Thus, despite general misconceptions that cannabis is rare from other substances of abuse, cannabis shows identical impacts on the mesolimbic dopamine system. The recent finding that endogenous cannabinoids change the mesolimbic dopamine system, however, might be taken advantage for the development of possible pharmacotherapies that are made to treat syndromes of motivation. Indeed, upsetting endocannabinoid transmissioning reduces drug-induced increases in dopamine release in addition to dopamine concentrations evoked by conditioned stimuli during reward seeking.

THC could alleviate substance abuse

Based on the evidence presented herein, commonly abused cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, affect the mesolimbic dopamine system similarly to other common substances of abuse. It is very likely that repeated exposures to THC might conclude in neuroadaptations, not only to the mesolimbic dopamine system, but also to downstream targets that are critically involved in the advancement of drug addiction. Regarding the endocannabinoid system, we are still in a discovery phase. Very little is known regarding the relative contributions of unique endocannabinoids or their actual signaling mechanisms. However, it is known that the endocannabinoid system is capable of changing the mesolimbic dopamine system and its possible effect in syndromes of motivation. Future studies must take place to dissect the actual jobs of endocannabinoids in this alteration to minimize adverse events and how they affect dopamine transmission in animal models.

Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly
Jonathan Neilly is registered with the British Psychological Society, breaking the taboo on mental health issues is one of the driving forces in his life. His background in biomedicine gives him additional understanding of the factors that work together to influence the human condition.

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