Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How cannabis causes 'cognitive chaos' in the brain

Date:
October 28, 2011
Source:
University of Bristol
Summary:
Cannabis use is associated with disturbances in concentration and memory. New research by neuroscientists in the UK has found that brain activity becomes uncoordinated and inaccurate during these altered states of mind, leading to neurophysiological and behavioral impairments reminiscent of those seen in schizophrenia.

Cannabis use is associated with disturbances in concentration and memory. New research by neuroscientists at the University of Bristol, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, has found that brain activity becomes uncoordinated and inaccurate during these altered states of mind, leading to neurophysiological and behavioural impairments reminiscent of those seen in schizophrenia.

The collaborative study, led by Dr Matt Jones from the University's School of Physiology and Pharmacology, tested whether the detrimental effects of cannabis on memory and cognition could be the result of 'disorchestrated' brain networks.

Brain activity can be compared to performance of a philharmonic orchestra in which string, brass, woodwind and percussion sections are coupled together in rhythms dictated by the conductor. Similarly, specific structures in the brain tune in to one another at defined frequencies: their rhythmic activity gives rise to brain waves, and the tuning of these brain waves normally allows processing of information used to guide our behaviour.

Using state-of-the-art technology, the researchers measured electrical activity from hundreds of neurons in rats that were given a drug that mimics the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. While the effects of the drug on individual brain regions were subtle, the drug completely disrupted co-ordinated brain waves across the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, as though two sections of the orchestra were playing out of synch. Both these brain structures are essential for memory and decision-making and heavily implicated in the pathology of schizophrenia.

The results from the study show that as a consequence of this decoupling of hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, the rats became unable to make accurate decisions when navigating around a maze.

Dr Jones, lead author and MRC Senior Non-clinical Fellow at the University, said: "Marijuana abuse is common among sufferers of schizophrenia and recent studies have shown that the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana can induce some symptoms of schizophrenia in healthy volunteers. These findings are therefore important for our understanding of psychiatric diseases, which may arise as a consequence of 'disorchestrated brains' and could be treated by re-tuning brain activity."

Michal Kucewicz, first author on the study, added: "These results are an important step forward in our understanding of how rhythmic activity in the brain underlies thought processes in health and disease."

The research is part of a Medical Research Council (MRC)-supported collaboration between the University and the Eli Lilly & Co. Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience that aims to develop new tools and targets for treatment of brain diseases like schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bristol. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. T. Kucewicz, M. D. Tricklebank, R. Bogacz, M. W. Jones. Dysfunctional Prefrontal Cortical Network Activity and Interactions following Cannabinoid Receptor Activation. Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31 (43): 15560 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2970-11.2011

Cite This Page:

University of Bristol. "How cannabis causes 'cognitive chaos' in the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025172633.htm>.
University of Bristol. (2011, October 28). How cannabis causes 'cognitive chaos' in the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025172633.htm
University of Bristol. "How cannabis causes 'cognitive chaos' in the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025172633.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins