Endocannabinoid system involvement in brain reward processes related to drug abuse

Marcello Solinas, Sevil Yasar, Steven R. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cannabis is the most commonly abused illegal drug in the world and its main psychoactive ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), produces rewarding effects in humans and non-human primates. Over the last several decades, an endogenous system comprised of cannabinoid receptors, endogenous ligands for these receptors and enzymes responsible for the synthesis and degradation of these endogenous cannabinoid ligands has been discovered and partly characterized. Experimental findings strongly suggest a major involvement of the endocannabinoid system in general brain reward functions and drug abuse. First, natural and synthetic cannabinoids and endocannabinoids can produce rewarding effects in humans and laboratory animals. Second, activation or blockade of the endogenous cannabinoid system has been shown to modulate the rewarding effects of non-cannabinoid psychoactive drugs. Third, most abused drugs alter brain levels of endocannabinoids in the brain. In addition to reward functions, the endocannabinoid cannabinoid system appears to be involved in the ability of drugs and drug-related cues to reinstate drug-seeking behavior in animal models of relapse. Altogether, evidence points to the endocannadinoid system as a promising target for the development of medications for the treatment of drug abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-405
Number of pages13
JournalPharmacological Research
Volume56
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007

Fingerprint

Endocannabinoids
Cannabinoids
Reward
Substance-Related Disorders
Brain
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Drug-Seeking Behavior
Ligands
Cannabinoid Receptors
Aptitude
Dronabinol
Psychotropic Drugs
Laboratory Animals
Cannabis
Primates
Cues
Animal Models
Recurrence
Enzymes

Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Anandamide
  • Behavior
  • Brain
  • Cannabinoid
  • Cannabis
  • Dopamine
  • Opioids
  • Place preference
  • Reward
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Endocannabinoid system involvement in brain reward processes related to drug abuse. / Solinas, Marcello; Yasar, Sevil; Goldberg, Steven R.

In: Pharmacological Research, Vol. 56, No. 5, 11.2007, p. 393-405.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Solinas, Marcello ; Yasar, Sevil ; Goldberg, Steven R. / Endocannabinoid system involvement in brain reward processes related to drug abuse. In: Pharmacological Research. 2007 ; Vol. 56, No. 5. pp. 393-405.
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