Effects of dronabinol on morphine-induced dopamine-related behavioral effects in animals

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ABSTRACTThe present study examined the effects of dronabinol, a United States FDA-approved synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist, on morphine (a prototypic μ-opioid receptor agonist)-induced dopamine-related behaviors in animals. Dronabinol suppressed the rewarding effects of morphine in rats and its emetic effects in ferrets. Furthermore, the morphine-induced increase in dopamine release from the nucleus accumbens was significantly attenuated by dronabinol, which indicated that the suppressive effects of dronabinol on morphine-induced behaviors are at least in part mediated by regulation of the dopaminergic system. Since cannabinoid receptor agonists have been shown to enhance the antinociceptive effects of morphine, the use of dronabinol as an adjuvant could be useful for preventing the adverse effects of μ-opioid receptor agonists when used to control pain.

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