For some people, marijuana causes a rewarding high. For others, it produces serious psychiatric side effects.
Whether a person enjoys the experience or adverse effects from cannabis may well be decided by which region of the brain it's acting upon, Western researchers have determined.
The psychological effects of marijuana can differ between individuals: some experience highly rewarding effects which may lead to dependence on the drug, while others may experience paranoia, cognitive problems or an increased 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."