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The Brain & the Actions of Cocaine, Opiates, and Marijuana

1: Localization of cocaine "binding sites"

Localization of cocaine binding sites

When a person smokes or snorts cocaine, it travels quickly to the brain. Although it reaches all areas of the brain, it concentrates in some specific areas. These are highlighted with the turquoise sprinkles; the VTA, the nucleus accumbens, and the caudate nucleus (lighter turquoise since the caudate is inside the hemisphere). Point out that cocaine concentrates especially in the reward areas that you have just discussed. Cocaine accumulation in other areas such as the caudate nucleus can explain other effects such as increased stereotypic behaviors (pacing, nail-biting, scratching, etc..)

This page was last updated January 2007

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