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The effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on the dopamine system

Bloomfield, MAP; Ashokh, AH; Volkow, ND; Howes, OD; (2016) The effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on the dopamine system. Nature , 539 (7629) pp. 369-377. 10.1038/nature20153. Green open access

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Abstract

The effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, are a pressing concern for global mental health. Patterns of cannabis use are changing drastically owing to legalization, the availability of synthetic analogues (commonly termed spice), cannavaping and an emphasis on the purported therapeutic effects of cannabis. Many of the reinforcing effects of THC are mediated by the dopamine system. Owing to the complexity of the cannabinoid–dopamine interactions that take place, there is conflicting evidence from human and animal studies concerning the effects of THC on the dopamine system. Acute THC administration causes increased dopamine release and neuron activity, whereas long-term use is associated with blunting of the dopamine system. Future research must examine the long-term and developmental dopaminergic effects of THC.

Type: Article
Title: The effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on the dopamine system
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/nature20153
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature20153
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Human behaviour; Motivation; Risk factors; Addiction; Reward
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1528755
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