New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas reveals that levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that leaves a euphoric feeling, directly correlates to changes in how the brain utilizes oxygen.
Dr. Francesca Filbey, director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research in Addictive Disorders at the Center for BrainHealth, led the team that found chronic cannabis users have higher cerebral blood flow and extract more oxygen from brain blood flow than nonusers. The rate at which oxygen is metabolized in the brain was found to be higher in users as well.
While THC is known to relax blood vessels and alter blood flow in the brain, the study focused on how prolonged THC use might affect the brain by analyzing the differences in regional brain blood oxygenation and metabolism in chronic cannabis users.
Due to the prospective nature of the study, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers cannot say whether cannabis use directly causes the observed changes, or whether other underlying conditions also may be at play.
Published on Medical Xpress August 14, 2017