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Cannabinoids and the Brain$
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Linda A. Parker

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035798

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035798.001.0001

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Cannabinoids, Reward, and Addiction

Cannabinoids, Reward, and Addiction

(p.79) 6 Cannabinoids, Reward, and Addiction
Cannabinoids and the Brain

Linda A. Parker

The MIT Press

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter critical for reward processing and is elevated by most addicting drugs. The effect of THC and other CB1 agonists moderately elevate dopamine in reward related regions of the rodent brain; however, there is less consistent evidence in humans for marijuana-induced changes in dopamine release or for morphological changes in brain reward areas. In humans, cannabis use disorder has been identified, which shows similar features of other substance use disorders, but not in the same extremes as opiates, psychostimulants or alcohol. This chapter discusses the interaction between cannabis and other drugs in relapse to drugs use, with a special case for the interaction between cannabinoids and opiates. Finally, the relationship between cannabinoid effects on men and women in sexual behaviour is discussed.

Keywords:   Addiction, Reward, Cannabis Use Disorder, Drug self-administration, Conditioned place preference, Dopamine, Nucleus Accumbens, Ventral Tegmental Area, Opiates, Sex

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