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Communication in the Brain

Biological neural networks are made up of several neurons that send signals to each other. Think of this as a pathway our brain uses to communicate information. 1 Our neurons process signals (or information) using neurotransmitters. What happens if this gets disrupted?

Consider this by looking at what happens when we introduce a drug to the brain. When we introduce a drug like marijuana to our brains, it activates our “neurons because their chemical structure mimics that of a natural neurotransmitter in the body.”2  Even though marijuana is mimicking the brain’s natural chemicals, it does not cause the same reaction, which then leads to unusual messaging sent throughout the brain. 2

When a brain becomes addicted to a substance, it often starts to adapt to the drug being introduced. If the substance has been regularly introduced and the brain is now relying on it, discontinuing the use of that substance may cause withdrawal. The good news is that our brains are adaptive. You can oppose the negative effects on the brain by seeking treatment and staying sober from the substance used.

If you are looking into treatment for substance use/addiction, there are many ways you can get support. Many people also combine some of these resources (i.e. attending support groups & therapy).

  • Therapy

  • Inpatient Treatment

  • Outpatient Treatment

  • Support groups like AA, NA, & SMART Recovery

  • Accountability partners


1: Shao, Feng; Shen, Zheng (9 January 2022). "How canartificial neural networks approximate the brain?". FrontPsychol. 13:970214. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.970214. PMC 9868316. PMID 36698593.

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