Euphoria vs. Paranoia – Scientists Explore Differences in Effects of Marijuanaadmin
Why smoking marijuana elicits vastly different reactions between smokers has never been fully understood, but researchers at Western University Canada’sSchulich School of Medicine & Dentistry believe that it may have to do with a specific part of the brain, IFLScience.com reports.
“Until now, it was unknown which specific regions of the brain were responsible for these highly divergent effects of marijuana,” study author Professor Steven Laviolette said.
In a study recently published in Scientific Reports researchers microinfused rats with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s psychoactive component, and recorded their behavior and electrical responses in the part of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, a region of the frontal lobe responsible for both reward and aversion behavior. The researchers found that when THC interacted to the anterior area of the nucleus accumbens, it produced rewarding and addictive effects. When it interacted to the posterior area, however, researchers reported both cognitive and emotional adverse effects, similar to those found in people with schizophrenia.
“These findings are important because they suggest why some people have a very positive experience with marijuana when others have a very negative experience,” study co-author Christopher Norris said. “Our data indicate that because the reward and aversion are produced by anatomically distinct areas, the different effects between individuals is likely due to genetic variation leading to differential sensitivity of each area.”
“In other words, whether you enjoy getting high or not could literally be made in your DNA,” Madison Dapcevich concludes.