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Bossong MG, van Berckel BN, Boellaard R, Zuurman L, Schuit RC, Windhorst AD, van Gerven JM, Ramsey NF, Lammertsma AA, Kahn RS. 
“Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Induces Dopamine Release in the Human Striatum”. 
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Aug 28.
The influence of cannabis on mental health receives growing scientific and political attention. An increasing demand for treatment of cannabis dependence has refueled the discussion about the addictive potential of cannabis. A key feature of all addictive drugs is the ability to increase synaptic dopamine levels in the striatum, a mechanism involved in their rewarding and motivating effects. However, it is currently unknown if cannabis can stimulate striatal dopamine neurotransmission in humans. Here we show that Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in cannabis, induces dopamine release in the human striatum. Using the dopamine D(2)/D(3) receptor tracer [(11)C]raclopride and positron emission tomography in seven healthy subjects, we demonstrate that THC inhalation reduces [(11)C]raclopride binding in the ventral striatum and the precommissural dorsal putamen but not in other striatal subregions. This is consistent with an increase in dopamine levels in these regions. These results suggest that THC shares a potentially addictive property with other drugs of abuse. Further, it implies that the endogenous cannabinoid system is involved in regulating striatal dopamine release. This allows new directions in research on the effects of THC in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 27 August 2008; doi:10.1038/npp.2008.138.
Notes # : cannabis
Comments and Responses to this Article
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Apr 17, 2011 1:59
From Discussion : #

Note that DA receptor availability is used as a measure of DA release in response to drug administration:

'Whereas amphetamine, cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine cause reductions in dopamine D2/D3 receptor availability in the range of 10–30%, we found a relatively modest THC-induced decrease of 3.4 and 3.9% in the ventral striatum and the precommissural dorsal putamen, respectively.

'Interestingly, this modest decrease in [11C]raclopride binding is consistent with the moderate increase in striatal dopamine levels measured after administration of THC in animals.'
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