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Neurobiol Dis. 1998 Dec;5(6 Pt B):502-33.

Cannabinoid transmission and reward-related events.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York 10461-1602, USA. gardner@aecom.yu.edu

Abstract

The reward/reinforcement circuitry of the mammalian brain consists of synaptically interconnected neurons associated with the medial forebrain bundle, linking the ventral tegmental area, nucleus accumbens, and ventral pallidum. Electrical stimulation of this circuit supports intense self-stimulation in animals and, in humans, produces intense pleasure or euphoria. This circuit is strongly implicated in the neural substrates of drug addiction and in such addiction-related phenomena as withdrawal dysphoria and craving. This circuit is also implicated in the pleasures produced by natural rewards (e.g., food, sex). Cannabinoids are euphorigenic in humans and have addictive liability in vulnerable persons, but were long considered "anomalous" drugs of abuse, lacking pharmacological interaction with these brain reward substrates. It is now clear, however, that cannabinoids activate these brain substrates and influence reward-related behaviors. From these actions, presumably, derive both the abuse potential of cannabinoids and the possible clinical efficacy in dysphoric states.

PMID:
9974181
DOI:
10.1006/nbdi.1998.0219
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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