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How Does Marijuana Affect Dopamine?

By on December 4, 2012

Summary (click to view)

  • Dopamine is a chemical found in the brain
  • Dopamine is responsible for feelings of happiness and pleasure
  • All substances of abuse cause a release of dopamine
  • THC also causes a release of dopamine
  • During withdrawal, dopamine levels will temporarily decline
  • Long-term cannabis use does not impact overall dopamine levels 
  • – Despite all the health hazards associated with drug use, there’s no arguing the fact that drugs – including everyday substances like alcohol and caffeine – make their users feel good, at least in the short run.

    This reinforcing and addictive quality of drugs can be attributed to an essential chemical in our brain called dopamine. And like all substances that people use for fun, marijuana causes an increase in dopamine.

    What is Dopamine?

    Dopamine can affect mood and attention

    Dopamine can affect mood and attention

    Dopamine belongs to a class of chemicals known as neurotransmitters. These chemicals are used by the brain to transmit signals.

    But dopamine is not just any neurotransmitter. Dopamine is known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter because of its role in feelings of happiness and pleasure. What’s more, all substances of abuse act to increase dopamine, though only temporarily. As a result, dopamine plays a major part in the addictive quality of drugs.

    In addition to inducing pleasurable feelings, dopamine also influences the following functions:

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Voluntary movement
  • Motivation
    Low levels of dopamine have been linked to disorders such as ADHD and Parkinson’s disease as well as problems with addiction (i.e. addictive personalities).

    Marijuana Use and Dopamine

    Early research seemed to suggest that cannabinoids – the active constituents of marijuana – did not increase dopamine levels like other drugs do.

    Although thought-provoking, the findings would later be dismissed as inaccurate and an overwhelming amount of evidence now confirms that THC – one of the cannabinoids found in marijuana – does in fact cause a temporary increase in dopamine levels.

    This rise in dopamine is mediated by pathways called CB1 receptors and occurs in a region of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens. Scientists believe that increases in dopamine in this region are responsible for the reinforcing and rewarding properties of all known drugs of abuse.

    Cannabis Withdrawal

    Withdrawal occurs when a person stops taking a drug after a period of sustained use. The result is a negative emotional state that enforces drug seeking and cravings.

    Studies have shown that during withdrawal from many common drugs, dopamine levels fall below their normal (i.e. baseline) levels – contributing to the negative emotional state of withdrawal. This decrease in dopamine has been observed during cannabis withdrawal as well.

    Long-term Cannabis Use

    Studies have linked the long-term abuse of substances such as alcohol, cocaine and heroin with a decrease in the brain’s overall production and release of dopamine. This is because most drugs cause damage to brain cells that produce dopamine.

    Cannabis users can breathe easy, however, as cannabinoids are believed to have the opposite effect. Likewise, a study published in 2012 found that long-term cannabis consumption does not result in permanent changes in dopamine levels.

    • Lewis Parker

      “overwhelming evidence” directs you to a government-monitored website.
      You should be ashamed of yourself.

      • themclauchlins

        Pubmed is a library of medical studies using the medline database. Many well conducted studies with numerous authors are indexed in this library. If you are concerned about the bias in the individual studies, you must follow the money. Finding the source of the funding and critically appraising the article for the intent and the quality of the study will give you more information.

        For the particular article you have been so critical about, the grant funding looks to have come from the National Institute of Health and Health and Human Services, which would be government funding. However, the authors come from Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine. I think this looks to be a legit study, done on mice, that shows there is an effect of cannabinoids on the dopamine level.

        You should be ashamed of yourself for jumping to conclusions!

        • Faggot

          dude you can’t like… trust the system man

          • StevenSeagullWingz

            Brohms, Bro. Brosef…. don’t trust the system. One word: 9/11.

    • chris9465

      Hahaha any website about any drug that brings you to a DOT GOV website is a lie…….nothing true here just more government BS and propaganda the author is a fraud

      • Jeremy

        Pothead spotted

    • Jane Peters

      Man made drugs are the ones that are harming people.

      • Kelly M Woodcox

        Very true!!!

      • sig

        Like paracetamol?
        Natural drugs can be as bad. there are millions of toxins in nature. in fact man made drugs are more likely to be safe because they are created in a lab whereas natural drugs were not ‘intended’ to be consumed by humans. that’s why there are billions of poisons in nature.

        Dont get me wrong i love weed but that’s just a terrible argument

        • Emmanuel Apolonio Cortes

          I believe he is refereing to man made prescition and syntytix drugs.

        • Chris Riley

          I laugh at the idea that natural things are safe too

    • Will

      Why are people claiming this article is full of lies? It’s a fact that smoking/consuming marijuana releases an abnormal amount of dopamine in the brain which is why you feel “high” when you smoke it. It’s not neccesarily a bad thing the same chemical is released by your brain when you eat chocolate. The other people are just jumping to conclusions because they probably don’t even know what dopamine is. The only thing I would assert is false is the claim that you can become addicted to marijuana.

      • Karol

        well I’d say that eating chocolate is a bad thing as well, but that’s another discussion…

      • Ryan

        yeah..except let’s not forget its the THC that’s really making your high.. dopamine is just what you might call a bonus. Call me crazy but the first time i smoked weed, it was definately the high that made me wanna keep smoking in the future. Its kind of like how people who like chocolate keep going back for more because they know it tastes fucking delicious!! i mean comon..who dosnt like chocolate?

        • hi

          Chocolate is delicious because it is physically rewarding, your brain sends out dopamine. Duh??

          • High

            I love milk! And from the first time i tasted it i knew this was the drink for me… am I a addicted to milk? or do I just like it

            • StevenSeagullWingz

              YA, UR STUPID. Why? Because….The first time you tasted milk was from your mothers titty. And lets say the first MEMORY of you tasting milk(which is what you’re probably referring to) was when you were 5 years old….. you probably like drinking so much milk because it gives you the mad poops, and fart noises were funny to you then, ALSO who doesn’t enjoy a good DUMP? Now, assuming you lived under a rock until age 27, and drank your first glass of milk then… same answer: it’s not an addiction.. You just like milk. While arguably our bodies are constantly on the lookout for something to be psychologically addicted to, I don’t think a beverage such as milk has the chemical influence on your BRAIN like that bomb-sticky-icky does. Meaning, your dopamine levels don’t react the same when it’s milk you’re smoking, or weed you’re drinking.

            • Stephanie Sue

              Actually the brain is a very interesting thing. Addiction can happen with any thing.. Dopamine releases for almost any reason. If you like it, its because dopamine was released. Very very small amounts of course.
              Some people are addicted to chewing gum. And others are “addicted” to cleanliness…. They say that it’s OCD. But, if you think about it, dopamine is released. In order for that person to stop washing their hands, they have to “feel good”!

              I’m just saying…

            • Deborah Coleman

              Cannabinoids are found in breast milk.

            • Molly

              Food increases dopamine levels by 200%. Amphetamine by 1000%. I dont know where inbetween there chocolate and cannabis go but the more it increases your dopamine levels, the more dopamine will decrease when withdrawal and the more withdrawal the more addictive it is. Alot of people are addicted to food = obesity. But to your question, nah, by the sounds of it you just like milk :)

            • Dude

              Actually milk as traces if addictive chemicalsa as well as cannabinoids so yes milk is addictive

          • Ironbunny IonBunny

            weed itself changes your brain chemical structure by blasting it with dopamine and other sh. Chocolate merely instructs the brain to do its normal processes. No difference whatsoever you say? Keep smoking. Darwin award.

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        • Sig

          eating chocolate releases dopaine in the brain. THC is a molecule that bonds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. these then increase the amount of dopamine between synapes and slightly reduces the dopamine reuptake. The fact that there is more dopamine inbetween the synaps than usual prompts the postsynaptic neuron to flare when under normal circumstances it would not have. Because this happens on a massive scale you will feel ‘high’. The difference between THC and other substences that do the same e.g. nicotine and cocaine is that THC also affects seretonin levels in the same way.

          • Mjimih

            does serotonin return to normal like dopamine with sensation?

        • Will

          THC is the chemical responsible for releasing the abnormal amounts of dopamine in the brain when you are high.

        • marshmeyer

          You are so incredibly stupid.

        • Grumps McGee

          Have you ever tasted raw chocolate? It tastes horrible. More than likely it is the sugar that is rewarding your brain.

          • Karen Squires Karasz

            It’s the euphoric, brilliant combination of sugar and chocolate – more cravings for that and more physical pleasure derived from that than any other thing, including weed.

        • I Am The BATMAN

          It’s the chemical reactions that make you feel high.

      • Chris Riley

        In what sense do you believe cannabis isn’t addicted? Just curious

        • Will

          It’s less addictive than alcohol or cigarettes. You will not find very many people wondering the streets looking for their next joint. You have to understand that you can physically become addicted to anything but, when people smoke marijuana multiple times its not necessarily because they are addicted to it. It’s because they enjoy it.

      • docks

        I’m a pot smoker being I enjoy the dopamine release and it’s a good pain killer and cancer treatment AND supplement depending on how you consume it; anyways I think I have a addictive personally and the short-term affects on the dopamine receptions can be very depressive. Some of the knowlegde regarding substance dependence is good to know, if you plan to go sober even if you simple smoke pot (heavy) be prepared to experience endorphin’s or laughter because it’s quite depressive anywhere from 1-9 months of your recovery. The best way to counter the depression is eating ultra healthy plant based nutrition. Other than that pot is harmless.

      • Mjimih

        agreed, but it’s only bc of the last 11 words in this article. pot isn’t as evil.

      • Molly

        The claim that marijuana can be addictive is not false. Caaan be. It might just differ from person to person. Marijuana temporarily increases the dopamine levels and then it withdrawals and dopamine goes below its normal, also temporarily. And my guess is that people with already low dopamine levels will be easilier addicted cuz their dopamine levels goes up to normal but then even lower below normal after.
        And I know you can become addicted to marijuana for a fact, because I did! And still am.

        • Jean

          I think you are in the wrong way, the fact that marijuana isn’t consider to be an addictive drug is for a reason. There are some many points that you might be taking wrong, let’s say.. you have a psychological problem, you smoke marijuana and feel HIGH, If you liked weed, you will eventually start to consume it, even If you are not an addict, and your mental state will confuse the weed-need with your psychological problem. As you said, someone that have dopamine levels down probably is going to feel normal high and when their mood is getting dropped probably is getting more depressive than normal people, but that’s crap. 2 persons smoke weed, the two have different dopamine levels, they ingest the same amount of weed, BOTH are feeling high, as they ingest the same amount of weed and they have different amount of dopamine levels, they are actually experiencing a different state, due to the difference in their dopamine levels, it cannot be posible for one man to smoke the same amount of weed than the other and experience BEST, HIGH, that the other and say that you dropped the dopamine level’s too much, it is equal for everybody that shared your blunt. I say this because you are not getting addicted to weed, you are getting addicted to think that you are addicted, it’s rare but can happen. Enjoy weed, isn’t going to increase your dopamine levels to dramatically.

          • Good guy George

            Anything can be addictive. Not only but largely because of dopamine increase.

            I can guarantee you, some type of personalites (related also with naturally low dopamine production) are very likely to become addicted. Not only to THC, but it is a good example. Interestingly this type of personalities usually tend to have higher IQ scores ( would love to see a study be done about the relation with naturally low dopamine production and higher IQ btw!)

            Now… THC doesn’t increase dopamine THAT much (especially comparing with hard drugs) which means that no matter how addicted you THINK you are and depending on how long is your brain used to be fed with dopamine production/release/regulation helpers rather then doing it itself, with THC it’s guaranteed it will never be more then a few weeks (worst case scenario).

            I, for one, smoked weed/hash every single day for the last 11 years of my life. I am currently in withdrawal as for a health choice for the last 7 days. I can tell you in the first days it was awful with real physical simptoms (back pain, mood swings, dizzyness, vertigo, anxiety, anguish and – for me – the worst of all – absolutely no apetite and giant insomnia which makes all the other symptoms worse and seriously affects both your personal and professional). What helps is that I knew this would come become ocasionally, you know, my dealler would run dry and no1 could help me out. Fortunately this simptoms only start arround the 2nd day of total withdrawal and no decent dealler is out of stock for 3 days so usually in the 3rd day I would get my dopamine levels back to normal.

            This time i’ve made the choice to stop depending on external help to produce dopamine for personal, family and professio al reasons. I will defenately smoke weed again, but I will try my best NOT to do it every day. For that, I know for a fact I need total withdrawal long enough for my brain to ‘remember’ how to produce dopamine again and do his shit properly again.

            Fortunately and as stated before, 10 years for THC is not that much. If I did the same with cocain, for instance, I would most likely need help to even survive the 1st day unlike I do with THC. Strong will and knowing it’s just somedays are my only needed help.

            At the 7th day I can already eat decently. Not enough and not with satisfaction – but enough (even if not much food, if you focus on the specific ingredients that help with dopamine production it will help and the curious thing is that even though I couldn’t eat I somehow craved for especifically those ingredients and still do).

            I am quite sure in another 7 days I will have the same mood, apetite and sleep as when I abused THC (the last 2 one will actually improve – you dont completely turn off if you go high to bed – at least with THC, I am far from an expert on other drugs) . To make it clear, I obviously ate retardedly a lot while high – the problem came during the day while working, as the hours from the last yesterday’s joint increased. I actually needed a joint before dinner or I would feel anguish and full after a small soup.

            Also to make clear, It’s not like I smoked 10 joints a day. I mention abuse as a too regular and ‘a little more then a little’ long term use. In average I would smoke 2-3 good joints at night.

            It is a lot more related to repeated use then smoking 2 much here and there.

            And again, this is merely because of the brain taking it’s time to relearn it will have to produce it and regulate it on it’s own! Not ALL but moet addictions are exactly the same – what varies is the person’s brain amount of production and release of dopamine against a given substance.

            My brain is recovering it’s natural production/release abilities after 10 years of weed faster and 1 week withdrawal then a cocain regular user for 1 month. A lot more.

            Sorry if i repeated myself, not high on THC but on sleep depravation. Although judging by the other symptoms status, I could bet I willl sleep like a baby today.

            For anyone under my previous situation: trust me, it’s a LOT easier then it seems on the first says. Try some regular detoxes for 2 weeks, not only will you feel incredibly good on the last days but that amazing high you miss from back in the days will return. The more time, the better.

            TL;DR: Long story short you are in fact not addicted to THC and certainly not on dopamine. You (your brain and nervous system) are addicted to not having to worry and care about dopamine production. They (you) are addicted to lazyness in a molecular level not many people can understand.

            Hope it helps. Cheers,

            A future ex-brain-naturally-produced-substance-lazyness-addict :)

            • Good guy George

              PS: the here and there 2 weeks detox will also give you a clue of what to expect for a full quit and get you very motivated towards knowing that when you feel (for whatever reason) like quitting, you can.

          • hi

            Personally and this is just for me, its not like I have really bad physical withdrawals unless I way overdo it and then I just feel like laying in bed all day after I come down from the high. But other than that the only withdrawal symptom I’ve had was emotional because when I’m depressed I smoke weed for temporary relief, but as soon as I come down I want to blaze again because I don’t feel like going back to that depression shit XD

      • just sayin

        You CAN become addicted to marijuana. I actually get really annoyed when people say you can’t. I know some people that practically live for pot, and others who self medicate. I’ve seen it happen to several people as well as myself when I was younger

        • Mathew

          You can’t get physically addicated to pot.

      • Dusan Roncevic

        It releases a lot of dopamine but does not mess with your dopamine receptors and cause withdrawal (crash) like cocaine and amphetamines.

      • I Am The BATMAN

        I’d say excessive masturbation is far worse for depleting your dopamine levels than excessive consumption of marijuana. Although, kids these days do both. No wonder why there are so many teenage zombies.


        Dopamine rush from hard drugs is way different thing than weed thought.

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      • Micah Hall

        You need to speak only to what you know about. Until you’ve experienced the feeling of having no control then you don’t understand addiction and you shouldn’t speak on it. I smoked everyday for a long time and when I quit I was unable to sleep at night eat or even smile. Contrary to what you may believe it is a very difficult thing and addiction occurs when you no longer feel you have control. You can be addicted to junk food or anything else so educate yourself

        • Will Howie

          Cool story Micah… I find it hilarious that you can just safely assume I have no idea what I’m talking about but, fine.

          Personally I’ve smoked and quit multiple times with no trouble at all and there’s plenty of more people like me. You’re right someone can be addictted to anything but its not always the said substance in question that’s causing the addiction. That’s just a fact. Correlation does not equal causation. Someone may thoroughly enjoy eating candy for instance but that does not automatically correlate to candy in itself being an overly addictive substance equivalent to heroine or some other hard core drug.

          The same can be said for weed, while the effects of smoking may be an addictive sensation for some people it would be ludicrous to say the “withdrawals” of quitting weed are any more serious than that of learning not to drink coffee every morning.

    • Larry

      The comment in the final paragraph overstates the study’s findings:

      “Chronic cannabis abuse or dependence, of mild severity, is not associated with the same magnitude of [dopamine] alterations observed in other addictions.”

      The researchers could only draw conclusions about the effects of “mild” use. The study noted that some individuals were unable to stay off marijuana long enough to qualify as participants. As a result, it’s inconclusive what the harm may be on these heavy users.

      The study also caveated that there may be an impact from use during adolesence. That bit requires further study.

      This article’s assertion that “[c]annabis users can breath easy” is premature.

      • Lynn Boostedt

        I smoked pot for a long period of time. When I stopped I was irritable for a couple days. I didn’t smoke for years. Pot is not the same physical addiction as other drugs. Opioid dependence is more of a physical dependance. I don’t smoke pot and I haven’t for a long time. I don’t drink alcohol either. As soon as pot is legal you can bet I will treat my brain to some elevated dopamine. You don’t have to. That’s your choice. But know this you don’t have a right to choose for others. People don’t OD from pot. Cannabis is more of a want to then a want than a need to.

    • willy_willy_v2

      All addicts will defend their addiction to the point of absurdity. Therefore, I take all defenses of marihuana with a grain of salt. You cannot compare dopamine level elevation gotten from a joint of kush with that of a chocolate bar. The temporary dopamine levels gotten from smoking a jay are much higher of course.

      • spacialist

        Nonsense! I have worked with many addicts that are quite clearly reporting addictions. Including many that are distressed by the difficulty of abstinence in the face of high motivation to discontinue use. Not all addicts are in denial! That is a highly exaggerated over generalization and as such is inconsistent with logical and thorough research.

        • Casey Tucker

          You’re right. My use of the word “always” created a fallacy out of my statement. But despite the semantics and

          because the prefrontal cortex is wired to justify cravings, it is probable that we can all agree with denial being a hand-in-hand aspect of addiction. The true test here is in not previously knowing the substance is addictive. Alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine – these drugs have a social stigma of addiction already. Denial of addictions to these drugs will probably increase the farther back in history we look, due to diminishing education on addiction as an actual disease of the nervous system.
          Pot is a special story compared to these traditionals, however. It is here that denial has gone as far as public opinion and policy. Because it does not have that stigma of addiction, whether it is or isn’t addictive is an open debate. It results in lots of denial due to the fact that dopaminergic functions in the brain just aren’t on everybody’s curriculum. If cocaine were invented now, there may be a similar level of denial of addiction that there is with marijuana today (or, just the same level for cocaine back when it hit the streets. Which was much higher than it is now).

    • ~SMP

      Everyone should also consider the work and research of Dr. Gabor Mate, who wrote the book “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” which is mostly about his addiction patients in Vancouver BC. He found that kids who grow up in a negative, stressful and often violent environment have a decreased Dopamine response/release. Meaning that if you were an abused child, the parts of your brain that release the natural “good feeling” Dopamine is stunted, so you don’t or can’t feel normally “happy”. Also the stress response mechanism / adrenal glands of your endocrine system over develop, so that you are more likely to respond to most of life’s situations from a scared / stressful / negative point of view based on your childhood experiences. The way my doctor put it was that I have a “Cannabinoid deficiency”, so I need to supplement my diet with “vitamin THC” to get my Dopamine levels in a normal range.

    • truth teller

      Marijuana obviously has its place in the medical arena. The problem lies with people who take the facts and use the facts as excuses to use when they don’t need it for medical reasons. It’s prescribed in states that allow it for a reason. Stop making excuses for using when in reality many people are self prescribing when they do google searches and proclaim and self diagnose themselves so they can get high. Stop using the facts as an excuse for your stoner behavior. If you need it, a Dr with years of training (as opposed to Google searching for facts that will support your addiction) will prescribe it. Those addicted love to spend hours only researching the good effects and ignoring the dangerous issues

    • Mjimih

      Farout! :-)

    • jonah

      okay so i just explained this to my mom and ill explain it in short marijuana is a “drug” that increases dopamine. in kids/teens/adults with adhd / parkinsons desease their brain has a low ammount of neurotransmitters which is exactly what dopamine is it helps the brain focus,breath, sleep, eat and have great feeling emotions which is why cannabis is a very very very helpful treatment to adhd, insomnia, pain, depression, anxiety, ptsd, and all sorts of other diagnosis that people have. (hint most of the doctors dont want this “drug” to be legal because it is so helpful for most things that they would have little to no need for personal doctors that diagnose you with things so they would be out of part of a job.)

      • Ryan McLaughlin

        Uhm…. no.

        • just sayin

          Why no? Elsewhere I mentioned that pot is actually addictive for many people so I’m not pro-pot or anti-pot, but pot actually IS good for treating everything Jonah mentioned. That’s a fact. I also know from personal experience that weed is an amazing cure for ADHD. In college I used to blaze up before exams to help me focus and quell distractions and (believe it or not) it worked like a charm. I had a 3.5 too, I was a good student.

          Weed can be an amazing medication for so many things, its just feels so nice to consume its easy to abuse.

          • just sayin

            I should probably mention that smoking pot before exams is only helpful if you are a heavy smoker with ADHD!! Otherwise I would imagine it would have the opposite effect.

    • jonah

      THC also has cancer fighting agents which in turn fight against and obliderate the 50 other carcinagines which are put into your body if you smoke weed but the thc cancels it out so all thats left is something that helps with a wide veriety of deseases and disorders. so please if any of you wanna tell me that me and a crap load of other professors dont know what their talking about please email me its thank you

    • googlethis

      The chemicals inside marijuana do increase the rate at which your brain releases dopamine. Increasing the dopamine levels in your brain lead to hyper focus (watching tv for hours) and/or paranoia, among other things. You may discredit this because you may not feel paranoid or you may have the ability to mulit-task. This just means that your baseline dopamine levels are lower than the one who is feeling paranoia. Someone with low dopamine levels may have trouble focusing, or feel a bit depressed.

    • john78

      Sadly enough this is true, I’m suffering from it myself. However, they schould’ve mentioned that it mostly occurs with smokers who start at a very young age. I started smoking at age 14 and smoked almost daily at 16, so yeah it is entirely my own fault. But it is also true that this damage done isn’t permanent, I’m 19 now and quit for almost a week now and despite that my apathy has made place for several witdrawal symptoms, I can finally say that I feel myself become the person again I always used to be. Weed can mentally really fuck you up (if you’re not that resistent) but luckily the symptoms aren’t temporary and overall the drug does more good (medicinal wise) than bad.
      Note: This is just my personal experience, these problems that occured to me from abusive smoking as a teenager aren’t the same or even recognisable for everyone, ofcourse.

    • Ebo

      I’m addicted but I don’t think it affects my life negatively. Hey its keeping me alive

    • a

      Studies show that after withdrawal of weed after daily use for a long period of time, some people can have troubles with sleep, stress and anxiety for about 2 weeks. So in that sense it is addictive.

    • Kim

      So are my dopamine levels going to stay low if i dont smoke weed

    • troy

      my son is adha ..ridlinn as I hate the thought it helps him ..adha people sleep sux ..I have suffered insomnia for my life ..I recently came off clorazapam n that was hard very hrd puking sweating crapping my pants ..I feel nabalone is my sons answer to a non addictive sleep aid there research to back my findings

    • Claire

      This is such a stoner conversation LOL

    • Laura

      You Are so wrong. The brain gets tricked . Marihuana makes stupid and takes away decision making. You think only of your pocket

      • Melissa Carpenter

        Now hold up, cigarettes do the same thing, alcohol does the same thing, gambling does the same thing, meth does the same thing, and so does every addiction. If you have smoked before, your pot must have been laced with something more addictive, but when I’m high, I think clearer, articulate my words better, and am more focused. Love tricks the brain, makes you stupid, and blind, takes away all reasonability, and makes you spend gobbs of money.

    • shaggy6913

      One way in my opinion you can tell if something’s possibly got you addicted is if somebody mentions something you’re not thinking about and you start feeling like you want it even if it goes off of your mind it will pop back up, if there is not any form of addiction and the subject in your mind changes it most likely won’t pop back up and you should forget what was mentioned…Just an opinion though.

    • Afshin Nejat

      To all the posters in the discussion, regardless of your position:

      1) There are activities in the brain which are rewarding, and which are not directly caused by any increases in dopamine levels, and which are not in and of themselves pleasurable because of brain chemistry unless they are already rewarding “in and of themselves”.

      2) For example, accurate understanding of reality that is coherent in the brain creates structural changes that then are felt to be rewarding when the brain realizes that they are accurate. But before it can realize that they are accurate, it has to have developed structural memory that such ideation is accurate, in other words it has to develop knowledge of this as a fact.

      3) In order for knowledge to be built up into a rewarding sense of experience, the brain must have been rewarded by solving problems which require either the development of scientific knowledge based on empirical study of objective facts, or which require the pure demonstration of logical thought, or possibly some hybrid of the two, such as in mathematics.

      4) For this to be a rewarding process, the rewards had to be by either of these forms: positive association of pleasure being concomitant with the solution of the problem; negative association of pain being concomitant with the solution of the problem. (positive reinforcement, either by pleasure, or reduction of pain, respectively).

      5) The process is rewarding up to a point, but it is known that this building of association is at first sort of irrational to a degree. It helps to have had nice, pretty teachers who showed affection when you did good on tests, for example. But the main thing is that it is more important for the brain to have accepted what Freud called “the reality principle” and learned to understand that there is feedback from reality which is not in itself pleasurable, but we are to be pleased to find that we were able to use this feedback to disconfirm a hypothesis, or else to confirm it.

      6) The ability of the person to maintain a strong sense of pleasure in developing accurate knowledge is dependent upon that person’s brain’s propensity, which is dependent upon genetics and environmental factors such as nutrition, education, early experiences, later experiences, and so forth. It helps if the activities in which these abilities are developed have strong significance for the person so that he will develop a lot of pleasure in just being on that topic, let alone getting more familiar with it, learning more about it, exploring its intricacies, etc.

      7) It certainly helps all this process if the brain has confirmation, or at least a strong fantasy, that its progress in some such endeavor rewards it with better circumstances such as being well-paid, being admired, or being better able to survive, or just knowing reality better.

      8) So finally, if cannabis affects the region where things are felt to be rewarding, it is not necessarily short circuiting a process, but in fact may be catalyzing it toward optimum. It depends on whether or not the person is functioning at optimum in their baseline state. If not, then their activity is already sub-optimally rewarding. But if they find that they improve their activity while simultaneously have the salience of reward amplified as well, this may have long-term positive results for them as a person, depending on how well these two features are integrated. Therefore it can have very positive long-term effects even with only occasional, as it were “strategic” uses.

      9) But if people are not able to develop any long-term, permanent structural changes in their brains which are in themselves rewarding, and if they find no such improvements in their own innate conscious abilities during the process, then what is resulting is that their brain is being rewarded for less and less as time goes on.

      10) But, if it turns out that a fundamental deficit is corrected by these same cannabinoids, such as a deficit in the ability to concentrate, to override fear, or other such abilities, and that this when corrected leads to improved results in any activity, even if it is just the ability to enjoy some activity, then this is itself a positive feature that reveals an optimal state that the person missed normally merely because their brain was strategically locked against an optimal function which would have been possible if the brain instead were able to bypass that lock. (fear, obsession, distractibility, etc).

      11) If this happens to be the case, then long term use is advised as a means to improve the person’s ability to recuperate from a) deficiencies in ability which are incidental to chronic disabilities in function b) disabilities in function themselves, which may gradually heal because of productive use in restorative, healing contexts c) improvement of the quality of life in definite and objective ways which can be stabilized as long as circumstances which assist this process can also be gradually created and developed (the person can develop experimental ways to be themselves, express themselves, listen to others, change their environment, change their habits, etc, without it leading to chaos or irrational conflict, at least on their part).

      12) All of this in 10) and 11) is especially true if 8) is also true, and vice versa. That turns out to be a very powerful synergy of function, and well worth any slight inflation or even strong inflation in the sense of reward, because it is perhaps the case that such reward is needed to compensate for the brain’s incapacity to realize the relaxation and confidence needed to release such rewarding feelings in such contexts, which are normally not experienced or which are normally suppressed in the environments it is in because of neurotic fixations and obsessions, environmental pressures of others who know the person or who are strangers, etc.

      13) All this should be possible only so long as the person is in a non-hostile environment, is able to find mature ways of becoming a more well-rounded and also more advanced person, with regard to education, discovery of fact and truth, ethical expression among others, disciplined action at all times, or else the ability to ensure that more relaxed and “undisciplined” activities are performed in a protected and proper setting.


      Or else, when they clumsily engage in behavior which happens after they have become affected by Cannabis, they are not ethical, not sensible, not careful, not appropriate, not considerate, and for the most part “not developmental”. Many dysfunctional people yet like to feel rewarded. They may be oppressed by their environment in unreasonable ways, so they seek proportional release in some of their “down time”. This augments that. But they also often try to assert their dysfunctional egos upon others out in public or in their own private lives, and this is dysfunctional, stupid, and damaging use of Cannabis, and the result will be that they will damage their relationship to this amazing plant, both physically and spiritually.

      Finally, there are two important “environmental” factors to consider:

      1) Other People: Others will react differently to a person in such a state and try to understand, compensate, and judge that person, especially if they know them, and/or if they know they are under effect

      Some people’s attitude about such things is so strong that they will treat a person badly/differently/wrongly even if they suspect a person is under this effect. Some people have gone through most of their lives never having touched a drug, but because their behavior is outside the bounds of others’ understanding in certain ways, were assumed to be and treated accordingly, most times without them even knowing why.

      Some people are in secret societies and some of these are contracted with government agencies, some are government agencies, and some are just private groups, who are known to target and harass people who are in altered states of consciousness, and they do this for various reasons and as part of varying agendas.

      2) Spirit beings: There are Good and evil spirit beings. Evil spirits will take advantage of any opportunity to alter or affect a person who changes their state of mind in any way, positive or negative, and this includes in ways which were affected by consumed substances

      Good beings will interact with Good People who are in such an effect, but only within parameters which are deemed appropriate. They will not reward foolish or irresponsible activities.

      Both Good and evil people will be targeted by evil beings, as well as by the people mentioned above in 1).

      That’s your crash course in substance use (not only Cannabis). If you are evil, I hope it causes you to wreck yourself even more, and it will, because you will not be able to follow any of this wisdom, let alone have the patience in most cases to read and understand it. Likewise, you will not benefit from your abuses, neither here nor in the next condition after your body is destroyed.

      If you are Good, I recommend that you perfect your knowledge of reality to a very strong degree, working on developing your virtues and good habits, and do this rather than experiment with drugs of any kind, for any reason.

    • Mogila Natune

      THC which is a compound of marijuana blocks GABA which is also a neurotransmitter that is responsible for dopamine secretion which then inhibits the normal amount of dopamine released…in that case THC mimics and start behaving like dopamine which then brings euphoric feeling to the person abusing the marijuana. but in general the amount of dopamine released at that time is more compared to the normal.

    • Colin

      Hemlock is natural
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      Recent studies show THC increases dopamine levels. The government owns the patent as a neuroprotectant. Time to take charge of your own health. I did. No more Harmaceutical drugs for me.

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      Cannabis is not what would be classified as a severely addictive substance, Withdrawal symptoms are mild compared to opioids, nicotine, alcohol or caffeine.
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    • David

      Cannabis reprograms the brain to “depend” on the cannabis induced high levels of dopamine. Thus changing what is a priority to the individual user. Natural dopamine is only produced when a person engages in things that require effort and skill. Cannabis induced dopamine requires no skill or effort, thus the brains learns the “easy way”. Problem is the easy way leads to apathy and unhappiness. I have known a lot of cannabis users in my life time, they all “used to have things they were passionate about” prior to their daily use of a dopamine altering substance. Addiction may turn many people off when discussing cannabis, I like to use the term psychological dependency. Many stoners will not argue that term based on it being less stigmatizing. Regardless, cannabis is not healthy and can negatively impact ones life and health.