Cannabis-Induced Hypodopaminergic Anhedonia and Cognitive Decline in Humans: Embracing Putative Induction of Dopamine Homeostasis

Kenneth Blum, Jag Khalsa, Jean Lud Cadet, David Baron, Abdalla Bowirrat, Brent Boyett, Lisa Lott, Raymond Brewer, Marjorie Gondré-Lewis, Gregory Bunt, Shan Kazmi, Mark S. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Over years, the regular use of cannabis has substantially increased among young adults, as indicated by the rise in cannabis use disorder (CUD), with an estimated prevalence of 8. 3% in the United States. Research shows that exposure to cannabis is associated with hypodopaminergic anhedonia (depression), cognitive decline, poor memory, inattention, impaired learning performance, reduced dopamine brain response-associated emotionality, and increased addiction severity in young adults. The addiction medicine community is increasing concern because of the high content of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) currently found in oral and vaping cannabis products, the cognitive effects of cannabis may become more pronounced in young adults who use these cannabis products. Preliminary research suggests that it is possible to induce 'dopamine homeostasis,' that is, restore dopamine function with dopamine upregulation with the proposed compound and normalize behavior in chronic cannabis users with cannabis-induced hypodopaminergic anhedonia (depression) and cognitive decline. This psychological, neurobiological, anatomical, genetic, and epigenetic research also could provide evidence to use for the development of an appropriate policy regarding the decriminalization of cannabis for recreational use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number623403
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
StatePublished - 30 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • anhedonia
  • cannabis use disorder
  • depression
  • dopamine homeostasis
  • genetic testing
  • neuroanatomic alterations
  • pro-dopamine regulation
  • reward deficiency syndrome


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