The Relationship Between Marijuana and Dopamine

The Relationship Between Marijuana and Dopamine (Facts Explained) - December 16, 2020

Have you ever wondered what causes the wonderful feeling that makes you believe everything in the world is possible? The answer is not simple, but scientifically speaking, marijuana increases the level of dopamine for a brief period. As a result, you start feeling like you can accomplish any task easily. Not only this, but the effect of dopamine helps you stay at ease while you find almost everything funny. 

However, a new study has something different to say. The study reveals that short-term use of cannabis may increase dopamine levels, but long-term marijuana causes the dopamine levels to decrease. Unfortunately, low dopamine levels mean that you may suffer from conditions such as depression, fatigue, and constant mood swings. 

The research comes as a turning point for millions of Americans who use cannabis regularly. To make things worse, a national survey on drugs revealed that one-third of the adults admitted from marijuana use back in 2014 reported symptoms of addiction. So, does this mean that cannabis use is not good for the body’s dopamine levels? If yes, what is the relationship between both? How can one control dopamine levels while using cannabis? Read on to find out. 

Understanding the connection Between Dopamine and Cannabis

Dopamine is responsible for regulating pleasure centers inside the human brain. The euphoric feeling that you get after smoking or vaping cannabis or after dancing and eating comes as a result of dopamine action. Also one of the main reasons why people feel relaxed after consuming drugs. 


In the case of cannabis, the effects caused by dopamine remain the same. The only exception is short-term cannabis use doesn’t cause the dopamine levels to decrease significantly. In fact, short term marijuana use indirectly increases the levels of dopamine. 

While the cannabinoids do not interact directly with dopamine, they interact directly with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). As a result of this action, cannabis cannabinoids suppress the GABA inhibitors, and the production of dopamine increases naturally. On the other hand, the ECS, which is widely known for regulating the body’s major functions helps increase and decrease the production of dopamine indirectly.  

Cannabis Short-Term Use Good for Dopamine Levels

According to studies conducted in the past, THC influences dopamine levels more than CBD. Especially, in the case of people who use cannabis as a rare commodity. A 1997 study or, to be precise, a lab experiment on rats revealed that THC stimulates the functioning of dopamine present inside the brain. Another study conducted in 2016 accomplished the same results


Additionally, a similar study was conducted by the French using CBD in place of THC. The study showed that CBD does not have a significant impact on dopamine levels. Thus, indicating that THC and dopamine have a stronger connection than non-psychoactive compounds of the cannabis plant. Overall, the new research and all the studies conducted so far, suggest that frequent marijuana users should cut down a little to avoid future risks of dopamine damage. 

Dopamine and Long-Term Use of Marijuana

Many scientists and researchers have conducted studies regarding THC’s long-term effect on the brain. However, this is the first concrete proof of evidence that appeared in many years. 

Earlier, a 1998 study showed how regular use of cannabis may decrease dopamine levels in the prefrontal region of the brain. The prefrontal cortex area regulates vital brain functions such as planning, memorizing, and decision-making. This means that any hindrance in the dopamine levels could cause loss of memory or even worse. 

Interestingly, studies in the past, plus this new study, have consistently spoken against the long-term use of cannabis. In particular, when it comes to cannabis indirect interaction with dopamine neurons. While it’s true that long-term cannabis use may cause damage to the brain’s ability to function properly, it’s best to leave the technicalities of medical conditions to doctors. 

In other words, if you have a medical condition and you use cannabis for the same. Talk to the medical cannabis doctor and receive suggestions regarding cannabis short-term and long-term use. After all, prevention is better than cure. 

Final Thoughts

The findings clearly explain why long-term cannabis use is not good for the health, in particular brain and dopamine neurons present in the frontal region. These studies are based on animal test results, but the latest study comes with quite strong evidence. It offers real insight into the relationship between dopamine and cannabis. Also, bridges the existing gap between research and cannabinoids. Moreover, keeping all the facets of this study in mind, ensure that you get medical advice before consuming cannabis to treat a brain-related problem. 


Online Medical Card Team

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