Cannabinoids as Potential Molecules for Addiction Disorders

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“Addictions are a group of chronic and recurrent diseases of the brain characterized by a pathological search for reward or relief through the use of a substance or other action. This situation implies an inability to control behavior, difficulty in permanent abstinence, a compelling desire to consume, decreased recognition of significant problems caused by behavior and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. The result is a decrease in the quality of life of the affected person, generating problems in their work, academic activities, social relationships, or family or partner relationships. Unfortunately, there are not enough pharmacotherapeutic solutions to treat addictions due to the complexity of their physiopathology and signaling pathways. Therefore, it is an imperative search for new pharmacological alternatives which may be used for this purpose.

This review summarizes the main recent findings of the potential therapeutic effects of different cannabinoids on treating several addictions, including alcohol, opioids, methamphetamine, cocaine, and nicotine use disorders.

Highlights Standpoints: It has been demonstrated that many phyto, synthetic, and endogenous cannabinoids may act as therapeutic molecules in this psychiatric pathology through their action on multiple cannabinoid receptors. To highlight, cannabinoid receptors, types 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) have a crucial role in modulating the anti-addictive properties of these compounds.”

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