Cannabidiol treatment reduces cocaine voluntary intake in mice through a mechanism involving adult hippocampal neurogenesis.


BACKGROUND: The administration of cannabidiol has shown promising evidence in the treatment of some neuropsychiatric disorders, including cocaine addiction. However, little information is available as to the mechanisms by which cannabidiol reduces drug use and compulsive seeking. We investigated the role of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in reducing cocaine voluntary intake after a repeated cannabidiol treatment in mice.

METHODS: Cocaine intake was modelled using the intravenous cocaine self-administration procedure in CD1 male mice. Cannabidiol (20 mg/kg) reduced cocaine self-administration behaviour acquisition and total cocaine intake and enhanced adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

RESULTS: Our results show that a 6-day repeated temozolomide treatment (25 mg/kg/day), a chemotherapy drug that blocks hippocampal neurogenesis, prevented cannabidiol-induced increment in the early stages of neuronal maturation and differentiation, without altering the basal levels of BrdU/NeuN and doublecortin immunostaining. The reduction of total cocaine intake and operant behaviour acquisition observed following cannabidiol exposure was attenuated by temozolomide treatment. Our results also show a similar effect of temozolamide on a cannabidiol-induced improvement of novel object recognition memory, a task influenced by the pro-neurogenic effects of cannabidiol (10 and 20 mg/kg). The anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (10 and 20 mg/kg), however, remained unaffected after its pro-neurogenic effects were depleted.

CONCLUSIONS: The present study confirms that adult hippocampal neurogenesis is one of the mechanisms by which cannabidiol lowers cocaine reinforcement and demonstrates the functional implication of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in cocaine voluntary consumption in mice. Such findings highlight the possible use of cannabidiol for developing new pharmacotherapies to manage cocaine use disorders.



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