In these cross-sectional MR images, taken at different points within the brain, the red and yellow coloring indicates that grey matter density in the left nucleus accumbens – a region involved with reward and motivated behavior – is significantly greater in recreational marijuana users than in non-users. (Reprinted with permission: GILMAN, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience 2014.)

Casual marijuana use changes brain structures involved in reward, emotion and motivation

April 15, 2014

Even casual use of marijuana appears to cause significant structural changes in key brain structures of young adults, a new study finds. In a report in the April 16 Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the MGH Martinos Center and Northwestern University describe finding differences between casual users of marijuana and non-users in the size, shape, and structure of brain regions involved with motivation, emotion and reward. Read more about the study here.