There is a prominent role of the cannabinoid system to control basal ganglia function, in respect to reward, psychomotor function and motor control. Cannabinoid dysregulations might have a pathogenetic role in dopamine- and basal ganglia related neuropsychiatric disorders, such as drug addiction, psychosis, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. This review highlights interactions between cannabinoids, and dopamine, to modulate neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity in the context of drug addiction, psychosis and cognition. Modulating endocannabinoid function, as a plasticity based therapeutic strategy, in the above pathologies with particular focus on cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1 receptor) antagonists/inverse agonists, is discussed. On the basis of the existing literature and of new experimental evidence presented here, CB1 receptor antagonists might be beneficial in disease states associated with hedonic dysregulation, and with cognitive dysfunction in particular in the context of psychosis. It is suggested that this effects might be mediated via a hyperglutamatergic state through metabotropic glutamate activation. Indications for endocannabinoid catabolism inhibitors in psychiatric disorders, that might be CB1 receptor independent and might involve TRPV1 receptors, are also discussed. ?? 2012 Elsevier Inc.
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