Endocannabinoids and Drug Dependence

Author(s): Daniela Parolaro, Daniela Vigano, Tiziana Rubino.

Journal Name: Current Drug Targets - CNS & Neurological Disorders
Continued as CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets

Volume 4 , Issue 6 , 2005


Drug dependence is a chronically relapsing disorder, manifested as an intense desire for the drug, with impaired ability to control the urges to take the drug, even at the expense of serious adverse consequences. These behavioral abnormalities develop gradually during repeated exposure to a drug of abuse, and can persist for months or years after discontinuation of use, suggesting that this addiction can be considered a form of drug-induced neural plasticity. Many neurotransmitters, including gamma-aminobutyrric acid (GABA), glutamate, acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin and endogenous opioid peptides, have been implicated in the effects of the various drugs of abuse. Dopamine has been consistently associated with the reinforcing effects of most of them. There is, in addition, a growing body of evidence that the endogenous cannabinoid system might participate in the motivational and dopamine-releasing effects of several drugs of abuse. This review will discuss the latest advances on the mechanisms of cannabinoid dependence and the possible role of the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of addiction, not only to marijuana but also to the other common illicit drugs.

Keywords: cannabis withdrawal syndrome, Behavioral sensitization, CB1 receptors, dopamine neuron, Alcohol Abuse, Nicotine Addiction, Psychostimulants

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

Year: 2005
Page: [643 - 655]
Pages: 13
DOI: 10.2174/156800705774933014
Price: $58

Article Metrics

PDF: 4