Recent progress in the neurotoxicology of natural drugs associated with dependence or addiction, their endogenous agonists and receptors
Kobayashi H, Suzuki T, Kamata R, Saito S, Sato I, Tsuda S, Matsusaka N
Department of Veterinary Pharmacology,
Faculty of Agriculture,
Iwate University,
Morioka, Japan.
J Toxicol Sci 1999 Feb; 24(1):1-16


Nicotine in tobacco, tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9-THC) in marijuana and morphine in opium are well known as drugs associated with dependence or addiction. Endogenous active substances that mimic the effects of the natural drugs and their respective receptors have been found in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). Such active substances and receptors include acetylcholine (ACh) and the nicotinic ACh receptor (nAChR) for nicotine, anandamide and CB1 for delta 9-THC, and endomorphins (1 and 2) and the mu (OP3) opioid receptor for morphine, respectively. Considerable progress has been made in studies on neurotoxicity, in terms of the habituation, dependence and withdrawal phenomena associated with these drugs and with respect to correlations with endogenous active substances and their receptors. In this article we shall review recent findings related to the neurotoxicity of tobacco, marijuana and opium, and their toxic ingredients, nicotine, delta 9-THC and morphine in relation to their respective endogenous agents and receptors in the CNS.

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