PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the biggest problems in the fight against cocaine abuse is that addicts have a constant craving that does not subside. That is because cocaine is one in a class of drugs that stimulates a specific receptor in the brain.

But now researchers reporting in the journal Neuroscience are looking at drugs which can counteract the behavioral and rewarding effects of cocaine in mice. This work suggests that the the same receptors that make people crave marijuana, the cannaboid receptors, may be used to fight cocaine addiction.

Cannaboid receptors have receptors called cb1 and cb2. While drugs that activate the cb1 receptor are known to stimulate the brain’s reward system and provoke relapse to drug seeking after prolonged withdrawal, the role of brain cb2 receptors in modulating the effects of drug abuse is not known. Researchers think cb2 actually blocks the reward signals.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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