Cannabidiol decreases cocaine consumption as it facilitates neuronal proliferation

Cannabidiol decreases cocaine consumption as it facilitates neuronal proliferation

News from DCEXS-UPF

A new study shows the mechanism whereby cannabidiol, a substance derived from cannabis without any addictive effects, reduces cocaine consumption in mice. The study by the Behavioural Neurobiology Research Group (GReNeC-NeuroBio) at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) has been published in the journal Addiction Biology. It was conducted by the researchers Miguel Ángel Luján and Lídia Cantacorps and led by Olga Valverde.

Previous studies had already shown that cannabidiol is effective in reducing cocaine use in an experimental rodent model. Now, in this new work, the authors have investigated the mechanism whereby cannabidiol produces such an effect on cocaine use.

In the words of Olga Valverde, full professor at the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS) at UPF, "our study shows that cannabidiol reduces cocaine use because on the one hand it hinders the formation of the memories that associate the drug with its positive effect, and it prevents these aberrant memories of the drug".   

"We have seen that one of the mechanisms whereby cannabidiol reduced cocaine consumption is through its pro-neurogenesis effect, i.e., it facilitates the proliferation of neurons in an area of the brain, the hippocampus, involved in memory formation", explains Miguel Ángel Luján, first author of the study. "In a hitherto unknown way, neurogenesis modulates the creation of memories associated with the drug, allowing them not to acquire such prominence", he adds.


M Á Luján, L Cantacorps, O Valverde. “The pharmacological reduction of hippocampal neurogénesis attenuates the protective effects of cannabidiol on cocaine voluntary intake”, Addiction Biology, May 2019. DOI: 10.1111/adb.12778.

More information:
DCEXS-UPF website