The Relationship between Marijuana and Dopamine

Research over the past several years has explored the relationship between marijuana and dopamine, one of the brain’s neurotransmitters. This research has examined the way in which CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids can impact dopamine levels. As a result of these studies, it turns out that each cannabinoid has an influence in different ways. But first, let’s define “neurotransmitters.”

Understanding Neurotransmitters


Inside every person’s brain is a system or network that sends messages and signals between the cells of our bodies. When these messages and signals are sent, electric charges release neurotransmitters (chemical messengers). These are responsible for setting off a range of different feelings and functions such as instructions about blinking, breathing, and moving our arms and legs. They’re also responsible for the sensations of pain, pleasure, and so on.


Dopamine and Neurotransmitters


Dopamine has long been misrepresented as the “feel good chemical” or the “pleasure neurotransmitter” of the brain. However, it’s more complex than that. Basically, it’s just a small piece to a large puzzle. It helps to pique a person’s curiosity, desire, and drive by stimulating their motivation. As a result, this prompts the person to do those things that were pleasurable in the past. In turn, this puts the person on a reward-seeking journey, meaning they’re prompted to do things that made them feel good in the past.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)


The endocannabinoid system or ECS is a relatively new scientific discovery considering that it dates back on 30 years. Consequently, there hasn’t been a lot of research done up to this point. We do know that the ECS plays a significant role in the maintenance and regulation of different functions in our bodies, including its influence on the release of all neurotransmitters that affect appetite, our immune systems, memory, mood, etc. Marijuana is seen as an innovative herb that aids dopamine, reduces stress and pain. That is why so many states have legalized use of marijuana in various forms.

CBD, THC, and Dopamine

CBD or Canabidnoil has a regulating influence on the body and the brain but is unable to bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It’s best known for helping with certain mental health issues including anxiety and depression, decreasing inflammation, and providing neuroprotection. Conversely, THC binds to these same receptors and can influence concentration, memory, mood, sensations, and time perception.

Since cannabis and ECS research is so new, more conclusive evidence surrounding the relationship between marijuana and dopamine needs to be gathered.

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