A RECENT NIDA-SUPPORTED STUDY UNDERLIES THE FACT THAT DRUGS USED IN COMBINATION CAN PRODUCE EFFECTS THAT DIFFER FROM THE SUM OF THE DRUGS’ INDIVIDUAL EFFECTS.

Researchers showed that users of either nicotine or cannabis had reduced connectivity in several brain networks, but that users of both drugs had connectivity similar to that of users of neither.

This research:

  • Adds to research showing that nicotine and cannabis have interactive effects on brain structure and function.
  • Suggests that specialized treatment interventions may be appropriate for people who use both drugs.

Dr. Francesca Filbey of the Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas, Dallas, and Dr. Bharat Biswal of the New Jersey Institute of Technology conducted resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) to assess network connectivity in 28 nicotine users, 53 cannabis users, 26 users of both drugs, and 30 nonusers. In rsfMRI, subjects are asked to relax and let their minds wander during imaging. A network’s connectivity when it is at rest provides a baseline indicator of how well its component regions may coordinate when called upon to respond to environmental stimuli or challenges.

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Published on NIDA June 24, 2019