According to Western researchers, marijuana can have different affects on people.
While some users may experience rewarding effects, other people experience paranoia and cognitive problems that can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.
“Until now, it was unknown which specific regions of the brain were responsible for these highly divergent effects of marijuana,” said Steven Laviolette Ph.D., Professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.
“Translational rodent research performed in our lab has identified highly specific target regions in the brain that seem to independently control the rewarding, addictive properties of marijuana versus the negative psychiatric side-effects associated with its use,” he added.
The study was led by Laviolette and postdoctoral fellow, Christopher Norris, Ph.D., and has been published in Scientific Reports.
“These findings are important because they suggest why some people have a very positive experience with marijuana when others have a very negative experience,” said Norris.
“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.”