Cannabinoids and Dopamine: How do They Relate in the Brain? | cannabisMD

Cannabinoids and Dopamine: How do They Relate in the Brain?

Cannabinoids and Dopamine: How do They Relate in the Brain; CSH Perspectives

CSH Perspectives

A Brain on Cannabinoids: The Role of Dopamine Release in Reward Seeking

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are naturally occuring in the cannabis plant (cannabis sativa). Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of these compounds and studies have shown it has anti inflammatory effects when induced on animal cells. People have smoked cannabis for thousands of years and it has said have an anti inflammatory role in the body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another one of these chemicals and it is said it has psychoactive effects. Major cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found in the endocannabinoid system and allow cannabinoids to thrive in the body. This paper will look at the role of dopamine release from cannabinoid administration in animals.

Main Points

  • Cannabinoids could modulate dopamine system
  • THC could alleviate substance abuse

Cannabinoids could modulate dopamine system

Increases in mesolimbic dopamine signalling is seen when animals are given all known substances of abuse, including cannabis, and to conditioned stimuli predicting their availability. On the other hand, reductions in mesolimbic dopamine receptor function are seen during drug withdrawal, including cannabis-withdrawal condition. Thus, despite general misconceptions that cannabis is rare from other substances of abuse, cannabis shows identical impacts on the mesolimbic dopamine system. The recent finding that endogenous cannabinoids change the mesolimbic dopamine system, however, might be taken advantage for the development of possible pharmacotherapies that are made to treat syndromes of motivation. Indeed, upsetting endocannabinoid transmissioning reduces drug-induced increases in dopamine release in addition to dopamine concentrations evoked by conditioned stimuli during reward seeking.

THC could alleviate substance abuse

Based on the evidence presented herein, commonly abused cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol, affect the mesolimbic dopamine system similarly to other common substances of abuse. It is very likely that repeated exposures to THC might conclude in neuroadaptations, not only to the mesolimbic dopamine system, but also to downstream targets that are critically involved in the advancement of drug addiction. Regarding the endocannabinoid system, we are still in a discovery phase. Very little is known regarding the relative contributions of unique endocannabinoids or their actual signaling mechanisms. However, it is known that the endocannabinoid system is capable of changing the mesolimbic dopamine system and its possible effect in syndromes of motivation. Future studies must take place to dissect the actual jobs of endocannabinoids in this alteration to minimize adverse events and how they affect dopamine transmission in animal models.

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