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Neuropharmacology. 2002 Oct;43(5):857-67.

Lack of CB1 cannabinoid receptors modifies nicotine behavioural responses, but not nicotine abstinence.

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Laboratori de Neurofarmacologia, Facultat de Ciències de la Salut i de la Vida, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, C/ Dr Aiguader, 80, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.


Cannabis is the most widely consumed illicit drug and its consumption is currently associated with tobacco, which contains another psychoactive compound, namely nicotine. Interactions between cannabinoids and other drugs of abuse, such as opioids, have been previously reported. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the possible role of CB1 cannabinoid receptor in responses induced by acute and repeated nicotine administration by using knockout mice lacking the CB1 cannabinoid receptor and their wild-type littermates. Acute nicotine (0.5, 1, 3 and 6 mg/kg, sc) administration decreased locomotor activity and induced antinociceptive responses in the tail-immersion and the hot-plate test, in wild-type animals. The antinociceptive effects in the tail-immersion test were significantly enhanced in CB1 knockout mice. In wild-type mice nicotine (0.5 mg/kg, sc) produced a significant rewarding effect, as measured by a conditioned place preference paradigm. This response was absent in CB1 knockout mice. Finally, a model of mecamylamine-induced abstinence in chronic nicotine-treated mice (10 mg/kg/day, sc) was developed. Mecamylamine (1 and 2 mg/kg, sc) precipitated several somatic signs of nicotine withdrawal in wild-type dependent mice. However, no difference in the severity of nicotine withdrawal was observed in CB1 knockout mice. These results demonstrate that some acute effects and motivational responses elicited by nicotine can be modulated by the endogenous cannabinoid system and support the existence of a physiological interaction between these two systems.

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