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      Central Nervous System Alterations in Drug Abuse

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      Humana Press

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          Drug Addiction and Its Underlying Neurobiological Basis: Neuroimaging Evidence for the Involvement of the Frontal Cortex

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            Drugs of abuse: anatomy, pharmacology and function of reward pathways.

             George F Koob (1992)
            Drugs of abuse are very powerful reinforcers, and even in conditions of limited access (where the organism is not dependent) these drugs will motivate high rates of operant responding. This presumed hedonic property and the drugs' neuropharmacological specificity provide a means of studying the neuropharmacology and neuroanatomy of brain reward. Three major brain systems appear to be involved in drug reward--dopamine, opioid and GABA. Evidence suggests a midbrain-forebrain-extrapyramidal circuit with its focus in the nucleus accumbens. Data implicating dopamine and opioid systems in indirect sympathomimetic and opiate reward include critical elements in both the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental areas. Ethanol reward appears to depend on an interaction with the GABAA receptor complex but may also involve common elements such as dopamine and opioid peptides in this midbrain-forebrain-extrapyramidal circuit. These results suggest that brain reward systems have a multidetermined neuropharmacological basis that may involve some common neuroanatomical elements.
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              Endocannabinoid signaling in the brain.

              The primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta9-THC), affects the brain mainly by activating a specific receptor (CB1). CB1 is expressed at high levels in many brain regions, and several endogenous brain lipids have been identified as CB1 ligands. In contrast to classical neurotransmitters, endogenous cannabinoids can function as retrograde synaptic messengers: They are released from postsynaptic neurons and travel backward across synapses, activating CB1 on presynaptic axons and suppressing neurotransmitter release. Cannabinoids may affect memory, cognition, and pain perception by means of this cellular mechanism.
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                Author and book information

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                978-1-61737-550-7
                978-1-59259-786-4
                2004
                10.1007/978-1-59259-786-4
                Book Chapter
                2004
                : 79-136
                10.1007/978-1-59259-786-4_4

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