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Studies Show Brain Changes during Marijuana Dependence

In one of the many studies on marijuana, one study shows how marijuana dependence may change certain regions of the brain. However, the study also shows that these changes may occur in brains that were smaller to begin with. Looking at over 400 volunteers, researchers found that there was some shrinkage in two brain regions during marijuana dependence – the amygdala and the right ventral striatum. But when put side by side with their siblings (who did not have a marijuana dependence), there was no difference. This means there’s a possibility that individuals who have a marijuana dependence could have already had smaller regions.

Prevent those changes to your body. Reach out for help and call Augusta drug treatment centers. Dial (706) 664-2763 now.

What is Marijuana Dependence?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies marijuana dependence as a disorder that requires treatment. In order to be diagnosed as dependent on cannabis, the person needs to exhibit at least three of the following symptoms over a 12 month period:

  • Tolerance to the drug’s effects, or needing to take more to achieve the same effects that used to take smaller amounts
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down use or quit
  • Taking more of the drug than intended
  • Spending a lot of time buying, using or recovering from drug use
  • Neglecting work or home responsibilities to use cannabis
  • Continued marijuana use, despite negative consequences or problems
  • Withdrawal symptoms when usage stops

Why Is It So Common?

Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug in the world. The belief that the drug offers some medical benefits, coupled with the cultural belief that the substance is relatively harmless has led to a sharp increase in popularity.

The psychoactive component in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes feelings of relaxation, heightened mood and an increase in appetite. The substance can also induce feelings of anxiety or paranoia, along with physical symptoms of red eyes, reduction in short-term memory and impaired motor skills.

Despite the increase in medical usage of medical-grade marijuana, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the drug is linked with numerous harmful health effects. The American Society of Addiction Medicine reports concerns regarding dependence and negative health effects, leading them to dismiss the notion of marijuana for medical use.

Take steps to better your life by calling Augusta Alcohol Treatment Centers, or by visiting your local Narcotics Anonymous ( to share your story and help others recover.

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