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Behav Brain Funct. 2010 Mar 22;6:19. doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-6-19.

Effect of the CB1 cannabinoid agonist WIN 55212-2 on the acquisition and reinstatement of MDMA-induced conditioned place preference in mice.

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Departamento de Psicobiología, Universitat de Valencia, Spain.



Numerous reports indicate that MDMA users consume other psychoactive drugs, among which cannabis is one of the most common. The aim of the present study was to evaluate, using the conditioned place preference, the effect of the cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2 on the rewarding effects of MDMA in mice.


In the first experiment adolescent mice were initially conditioned with 1.25, 2.5 or 5 mg/kg of MDMA or 0.1 or 0.5 mg/kg of WIN and subsequently with both drugs. Reinstatement of the extinguished preference by priming doses was performed in the groups that showed CPP. In the second experiment, animals were conditioned with 2.5 or 5 mg/kg of MDMA and, after extinction, reinstatement of the preference was induced by 0.5 or 0.1 mg/kg of WIN.


A low dose of WIN 55212-2 (0.1 mg/kg) increased the rewarding effects of low doses of MDMA (1.25 mg/kg), although a decrease in the preference induced by MDMA (5 and 2.5 mg/kg) was observed when the dose of WIN 55212-2 was raised (0.5 mg/kg). The CB1 antagonist SR 141716 also increased the rewarding effects of the lowest MDMA dose and did not block the effects of WIN. Animals treated with the highest WIN dose plus a non-neurotoxic dose of MDMA exhibited decreases of striatal DA and serotonin in the cortex. On the other hand, WIN 55212-2-induced CPP was reinstated by priming injections of MDMA, although WIN did not reinstate the MDMA-induced CPP.


These results confirm that the cannabinoid system plays a role in the rewarding effects of MDMA and highlights the risks that sporadic drug use can pose in terms of relapse to dependence. Finally, the potential neuroprotective action of cannabinoids is not supported by our data; on the contrary, they are evidence of the potential neurotoxic effect of said drugs when administered with MDMA.

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