Researchers at the Center for BrainHealth, part of the University of Texas at Dallas, recently examined the underlying brain networks in long-term cannabis users to identify patterns of brain connectivity when consumers crave cannabis or want to use cannabis. While regional brain activation and static connectivity in response to cravings have been studied, fluctuations in the connectivity of the brain network in cannabis users have not yet been investigated. The results of this study will help develop better treatment strategies for cannabis addiction.
The study was published in the Journal of Human brain mapping (May 2020) by researchers Francesca Filbey, PhD, professor and director of cognitive neuroscientific research on addiction disorders at the Center for BrainHealth, Hye Bin Yoo, PhD and Blake Edward Moya.
The results contribute to the understanding that regions of the brain do not work in isolation, but rather through the connectivity of several brain networks that signal each other depending on need and condition. It is also found that the connectivity of the brain during demand is not static, but fluctuates in the connection patterns between reward-related regions such as the central executive network and the nucleus accumbens, areas rich in dopamine. The need to better understand the impact of these dynamic patterns on cannabis use was also highlighted. The participants were examined with a functional magnetic resonance tomograph (fMRI) for these results.
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