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How Cannabis Affects Dopamine

Dopamine and day-to-day life

With cannabis legalization and its increased use amongst people, the focus seems to be shifting towards understanding the pharmacology, psychiatry, and neuroscience of the potential effects of cannabis and how its active ingredients may help your body and mind.

Of importance is cannabis' complex interaction with the dopamine hormone.

What Is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates motor coordination and motivation. Dopamine chemical carries signals between nerve cells. The way your body produces this chemical will directly impact your behaviour, forcing you to feel a variety of different emotions.

Dopamine also functions as a hormone, released by the hypothalamus and stored in the pituitary gland. It acts as the body's reward system, motivating us to seek pleasurable experiences (and avoid unpleasant ones).

Your body needs tge right dopamine levels

Having the right amounts of dopamine is essential for enhancing better living.

  • If your body's dopamine level is too low, you may suffer from clinical depression, poor memory, and poor concentration.
  • If your body's dopamine is too high, it may result in impulsive or compulsive behaviour. They include ADHD, potential addiction, and aggression.

Relationship Between Marijuana and Dopamine

Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that helps to regulate:

  • Movement
  •  Emotional response
  • Some aspects of cognition

Dopamine hormone is synthesized in neurons, just like cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids are compounds found in marijuana strains, which produce effects when they bind to cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2 receptors. Hence, marijuana can affect the release of dopamine in the body.

How Does Cannabis Affect Dopamine?

The answer to that question is not what you might expect. Cannabis users have higher levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in their striatum and nucleus accumbens—the parts of the brain associated with motivation, learning, and memory. 

How cannabis affects dopamine

Neurons

So how does this work?

Cannabis dabbing with e-nails (electric nails) or any other tool has been shown to increase dopamine in two key areas: the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and the striatum. 

The NAC is responsible for processing positive emotions such as rewards; it is generally linked with addiction-related behaviors like cravings and withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, increased dopamine levels in the striatum can improve motivation and attention span over time by increasing activity.

How Does Cannabis Affect Dopamine in Teens

While there are many reasons to be concerned about cannabis use in teens, it's important to note that the research on this topic is still preliminary.

Studies have shown that cannabis use by younger people can have a variety of negative effects, including stunting brain development and increasing the risk of psychosis. Some indications show that using cannabis at a young age could affect dopamine levels in your brain.

However, these results should not be taken as conclusive or all-encompassing. More research needs to be done before saying how cannabis affects dopamine in teens.

 The most important thing to know about dopamine is that it causes pleasure. It's released when you eat something delicious, have sex, or experience anything else that feels good.

Dopamine is a feel nice hormone

What Happens When You Take Cannabis?

When you dab cannabis, you're not just getting high on THC. You will also get cannabinoids like CBD and CBG, which affect dopamine levels.

These cannabinoids can naturally be found in the human body, but they're also present in cannabis and hemp plants. When you smoke or dab these plant products, THC stimulates your brain into releasing the hormone after activating receptors.

Can Cannabis Help with Certain Types of Mental Illness?

Given that legal cannabis use is a bit new and not so much research has been done on the plant, there's a lot we don't know about how cannabis affects the brain. However, anecdotal reports show it enhances productivity levels in certain brain parts.

It's important to note that dopamine isn't always positive; too much can lead to mental illnesses.

If you have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, using marijuana may worsen your symptoms by increasing your dopamine levels—a hyperdopaminergic state. 

Too much dopamine can trigger psychosis or mania in some patients with these disorders who use marijuana regularly and may also be why users with underlying conditions are not encouraged to self-medicate on cannabis—but research isn't conclusive yet!

Medical marijuana

Medical marijuana use is legal

Cannabis affects everyone differently, depending on genetics and other underlying health conditions. So, if you think it might negatively affect your mental health, talk with your doctor about alternatives.

Conclusion on Cannabis and Dopamine Levels

Long-term studies indicate that cannabis dabbing with e-nails or dab pens may boost dopamine levels. Hence, a positive impact on motivation, learning, and memory.

Cannabis is a dopamine agonist, which means it stimulates dopamine receptors. Given that the effects of cannabis on dopamine are not thoroughly studied, you might consider seeing your doctor. They will advise you on what might work out for your condition.