Heavy Marijuana Use Might Reduce Dopamine

drug rehab in Asheville NCDo you or someone you know smoke a large amount of marijuana? Do you tend to use this drug daily? Is it a substance you consider to be "safe" even with all the controversy over whether or not it actually is? Have you been through drug rehab in Asheville NC because of a weed addiction?

If so, you might want to continue reading this article, as new studies show that extended use of weed might lower levels of important brain chemicals. If you need drug rehab in Asheville NC to help with a marijuana addiction, Legacy Freedom can help. Call us today to learn more.

Marijuana Use and Dopamine

Often considered a gateway drug, marijuana is a controversial substance that is commonly abused by teens, young adults and adults. Many use cannabis to get away from the stresses of everyday life. It’s also used medically. Various doctors will prescribe it for cancer, glaucoma and other types of medical conditions as treatment in U.S. states that legally allow it.

While the controversy continues to be debated in terms of whether or not marijuana jeopardizes health, there are studies out there that show there are side effects to usage. In fact, a new study actually targets heavy cannabis users.

Columbia University Medical Center has done research that supports the fact that those who use marijuana heavily have long term, detrimental effects on the dopamine found in their brains.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain. It is a chemical that transports signals from the brain to the nerve cells. These nerve cells, also called neurons, are also ones that become damaged or deteriorated when one has Parkinson's disease. Only a few of our neurons make dopamine.

Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that affects movement, emotions, pain and other sensations. In cases where the brain is low on dopamine one might become depressed and sad.

Researchers studied 11 adults aged 21 to 40 in this test. The subjects were highly addicted to cannabis. They also studied 12 healthy subjects.

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Marijuana smokers used the drug every day for a month prior to the testing. They were then admitted into the hospital for a week with no weed at all.

According to medicaldaily.com, "Researchers administered an oral amphetamine to the participants to elicit dopamine release. Compared to the controls, cannabis users had significantly lower dopamine release in both the striatum and another brain region called the globus pallidus."

It showed that heavy cannabis users had much lower dopamine levels than those that didn't smoke the drug prior to the test. This comes as a surprise, considering the many studies that show marijuana shouldn't have an effect on our long term health.

There is a possibility that a preexisting condition could have caused the low dopamine levels in the 11 subjects that heavily used marijuana, but it's doubtful, considering the 12 non-smoking subjects didn't show any signs of significantly low dopamine levels. If someone you love and care about is suffering from an addiction, call Legacy Freedom today. We offer affordable drug rehab in Asheville NC.

According to psychologytoday.com, “In March 2016, another study reported that cannabis use disorders in the United States are rising dramatically. According to the study, the percentage of Americans who reported using marijuana in the past year doubled between 2002 and 2012. Unfortunately, only 13.2% of people with lifetime cannabis use disorder sought professional treatment for their addiction.” The website also stated that a “2012 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration on perceptions about the riskiness of cannabis found that attitudes have changed dramatically in recent years. For example, in the United States, the proportion of adolescents who perceive marijuana as risky has decreased to an all-time low of 45 percent.”

Now that this study has surfaced about the effects on dopamine in the brain, it's worrisome for not only our youth, but also those of older ages using marijuana daily.

Though there are many reports that argue that marijuana is not as addictive as other drugs like cocaine, meth or heroin, there is an addictive nature to cannabis. In fact, drug treatment specialists have conducted studies that suggest at least 10 percent of users will develop an addiction over time.

One might assume they're in the clear smoking pot recreationally, while in fact, they might be causing themselves to become dependent on it. Just as cocaine and meth cause dopamine imbalances, marijuana does as well. This means your brain needs more and more with each use in order to feel the high you initially got in the first few times of use.

It’s important to educate yourself and also teens and young adults that find marijuana use fun and exciting. There are risks that come with use. Physically, psychologically and financially, cannabis use is often considered reckless and irresponsible, especially when one reads more about the long term effects of it.

This is a debate that has been going on for decades. It can cause serious reactions in those that feel passionate about marijuana use being healthy, especially from those that feel the drug should be legalized. The side effects of heavy cannabis use are still being researched. It seems as though the more studies that are done, the more negative the results. This is why it’s important to understand that using any type of substance that alters your perception or mind can be dangerous. There are no risk-free drugs; even natural ones.

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, Chair of Psychiatry at CUMC states that "these findings add to the growing body of research demonstrating the potentially adverse effects of cannabis, particularly in youth, at the same time that government policies and laws are increasing access and use." While it’s easy to assume that smoking weed is just a natural way to relieve stress or wind down after a long day at work, you might be doing much more harm than good in the way of your overall health and wellbeing.

We hope this information sheds some light on marijuana usage and how using it heavily will have an affect on your health. If you or someone you know is using to the point of addiction, please consider contacting Legacy Freedom to learn more about our alternative therapy programs.

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Are you suffering from a marijuana addiction and aren’t sure where to turn next? Regardless of how bad your drug or alcohol use has become, help is always available. You’re not alone in this. Recovery is just a phone call or visit away. Contact Legacy Freedom to learn about our highly successful outpatient therapy and drug rehab in Asheville NC services. We are here to help you get back on track to a healthier, happier life.

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