Cannabinoid CB2 Receptor: A New Target for Treatment of Cocaine Addiction

Haiying Zhang, Z. X. Xi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Cocaine addiction is a serious social and biomedical problem worldwide, and, so far, there is no effective medication available for clinic use. Given an important role of brain cannabinoid CB1 receptor (CB1R) in drug reward and addiction, the majority of cannabinoid-based medication development studies have focused on brain CB1R. In addition to CB1R, growing evidence suggests that CB2R is also expressed in the brain, particularly in dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Activation of CB2R inhibits VTA DA neuronal activities, DA release in the nucleus accumbens, and intravenous cocaine self-administration. Furthermore, chronic cocaine administration significantly upregulates neuronal CB2R expression in the brain and in VTA DA neurons, suggesting that brain CB2R may constitute a new therapeutic target in the treatment of cocaine addiction. In this chapter, we review the recent progress in brain CB2R research, focusing on the role of brain CB2R in drug abuse and addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Neuroscience of Cocaine
Subtitle of host publicationMechanisms and Treatment
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780128037928
ISBN (Print)9780128037508
StatePublished - May 16 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction
  • Cannabinoid
  • CB receptor
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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