A new study investigating the effects of cannabis on brain neurochemistry discovered blunted response to dopamine signalling in the brain's prefrontal cortex in participants at high risk of psychosis. The study's findings were originally published in the journal of Addiction Biology.
The team recent study found a dose-response relationship between those who use cannabis in higher doses and the risk of schizophrenia. These findings are important as many countries across the globe are moving towards making cannabis legal. However, multiples studies have found youth are particularly vulnerable due to this move.
"Regular cannabis use has a profound effect on cortical dopamine function, in particular in relation to the stress response, which is critical for young adults at risk for psychosis. These results highlight the need for further research on the impact of cannabis on brain neurochemistry, especially in populations at risk for psychosis," study author Romina Mizrahi, MD, PhD, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, told a news portal.
Previous research has found cannabis use impacts memory and cognitive function in a negative way in the brains of adolescents. Another study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, found marijuana can have an unhealthy impact on a baby’s brain development.
"In the study, we found that maternal marijuana use begins to negatively impact the foetal brain at an earlier stage in pregnancy than we expected. However, we also found that eating choline-rich foods or taking choline as a supplement may protect the child from potential harm," Camille Hoffman, University of Colorado School of Medicine, told a news portal. Adding, "We already know that prenatal vitamins improve foetal and child development, but currently most prenatal vitamins do not include adequate amounts of the nutrient choline despite the overwhelming evidence of its benefits in protecting a baby's brain health. We hope that this research is a step towards more OB-GYNs, midwives and other prenatal care providers encouraging pregnant women to include choline in their prenatal supplement regimen."