Nora Volkow on Fresh Air (part II)

I finally listened to the rest of the interview today. Two more thoughts.

First, on tobacco, she pointed out that nicotine elicits a relatively low dopamine response and indirectly attributed its addictive power to the unusual degree to which tobacco use is often woven into the user’s life. She might make the same claim about alcohol. In my last post I noted nicotine’s capture rate and suggested that there’s got to be more to the story. The thing that jumped out at me today was the relationship between dopamine and pleasure. Nicotine, clearly, does not produce the kind of euphoria that other drugs produce. Yet, it has the highest capture rate and higher relapse rates. I’d really like to hear her discuss this in more detail.

The other discussion point that I’ve very curious about was related to food addictions. She stated that there are some important neurobiological similarities, but also some important differences. She did not elaborate. I’d also like to hear her discuss this in more detail.

She also discussed prevention and medical marijuana in a manner that seemed honest, thoughtful, and careful to avoid being alarmist.