A new study from a researcher at the University of Michigan identifies impacts from regular use of marijuana over a period of time. OK there are effects . . . maybe. But are they positive or negative? You decide.
The research team created a game that study participants played while undergoing an MRI brain scan. The game involved cash rewards in some rounds and no rewards in others. The researchers expected the players to be more motivated to win in the rounds in which there was a cash reward and the release of dopamine in the brain to be greater with cash wins.
The researchers reported that heavy pot users experienced a lower dopamine reaction to cash wins than did lighter users. They interpreted that to mean that the drug was “hijacking” the pleasure center of the brain and making users less responsible to social incentives.
What they actually did was to show that heavy users may be less money-oriented than others. Is that bad?
Is pot a potential cure for gambling addiction?
Better, should we be giving life-time supplies of pot to CEOs and politicians?
Regardless, without replication, there is no confirmation that these findings are correct. Another pipe dream? [Pun intended.]
Association of Marijuana Use With Blunted Nucleus Accumbens Response to Reward Anticipation,” JAMA Psychiatry. Published online July 06, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.1161, et. al., “
(2) Madeleine Gerson, “New marijuana study shows drug can affect pleasure-related cognition,” The Michigan Daily, Tuesday, July 12, 2016 – 11:33am