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The pharmacology of the endocannabinoid system: functional and structural interactions with other ne

The pharmacology of the endocannabinoid system: functional and structural interactions with other ne

  1. NeuroChi
    Addiction is a chronic, recurring and complex disorder. It is characterized by anomalous behaviors that are linked to permanent or long-lasting neurobiological alterations. Furthermore, the endocannabinoid system has a crucial role in mediating neurotransmitter release as one of the main neuromodulators of the mammalian central nervous system. The purpose of the present review is to instruct readers about the functional and structural interactions between the endocannabinoid system and the main neurotransmitter systems of the central nervous system in the context of drug addiction. With this aim, we have systematically reviewed the main findings of most of the existing literature that explores cross-talk in the five brain areas that are most traditionally implicated in addiction: amygdala, prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, hippocampus and ventral tegmental area (VTA). The neurotransmission systems influ- enced by the pharmacology of the endocannabinoid system in these brain areas,which are reviewed here, are gamma- aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamate, the main biogenic amines (dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin), acetylcholine and opioids.We showthat all of these neurotransmitter systems can be modulated differentially in each brain area by the activation or deactivation of cannabinoid CB1 brain receptors. Specifically, most of the studies relate to the hippocampus andnucleus accumbens. Moreover, the neurotransmitter with the fewestnumber of related studies is acetylcholine (excepting in the hippocampus),whereas there is a large number that evaluates GABA, glutamate and dopamine. Finally,we propose a possible interpretation of the role of the endocannabinoid system in the phenomenon of addiction.

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