Cannabinoid addiction: behavioral models and neural correlates

J Neurosci. 2002 May 1;22(9):3326-31. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.22-09-03326.2002.


The use of cannabis sativa preparations as recreational drugs can be traced back to the earliest civilizations. However, animal models of cannabinoid addiction allowing the exploration of neural correlates of cannabinoid abuse have been developed only recently. We review these models and the role of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, the main target of natural cannabinoids, and its interaction with opioid and dopamine transmission in reward circuits. Extensive reviews on the molecular basis of cannabinoid action are available elsewhere (Piomelli et al., 2000; Schlicker and Kathmann, 2001).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive / chemically induced*
  • Behavior, Addictive / physiopathology*
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Abuse / etiology*
  • Marijuana Abuse / physiopathology*
  • Opioid Peptides / physiology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / drug effects
  • Receptors, Drug / metabolism
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reward


  • Cannabinoids
  • Opioid Peptides
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug
  • Dopamine