Heavy, Long-Term Cannabis Use May Be Associated With Negative Changes In Brain

Medscape (6/9, Johnson) reports that research suggests that “the heavy, long-term use of cannabis is associated with negative changes in parts of the brain not previously implicated, and is linked to deficits in learning and memory.” Investigators “used the highly specific carbon 11-labeled (+)-4-propyl-9-hydroxynaphthoxazine radiotracer — known as [¹¹C]PHNO — to image the impact of cannabis on the brain.” The researchers “showed that heavy chronic cannabis use is associated with lower dopamine release in the associative striatum and the sensory motor striatum, regions involved in cognition.” The findings were presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2015 Annual Meeting.

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