Formation of habitual use drives cannabis addiction: Individual differences in brain systems for habitual behavior distinguish heavy cannabis users who develop an addiction

In the study, researchers at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and University of Bonn, Germany, used brain imaging to monitor neural activity when cannabis users viewed images associated with cannabis use, referred to as drug cues. Although all of the cannabis users in the study reported heavy use, only some were dependent on the drug. Both dependent and non-dependent cannabis users had exaggerated responses in a brain region that processes reward — the ventral striatum — compared with people who didn’t use cannabis. Interestingly, the dependent users also had larger responses in a brain region that forms habits — the dorsal striatum.

“The present findings reflect that heavy cannabis use is promoted by changes in the brain’s reward system — however, these changes alone may not fully explain addictive use. Addictive use may rather be driven by changes in brain systems that promote habitual — automatic —

... read more at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/06/190613095213.htm