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NIDA Notes Articles: Cocaine

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Brain Imaging Predicts Relapse to Cocaine

September 2015
A NIDA-supported study has found that a cocaine-addicted person’s chance of managing 1 whole year of abstinence correlates with activity levels in these impaired motivational and decision-making brain areas.

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Cocaine-Induced Increase in an Immune Protein Promotes Addiction Behaviors in Mice

October 2018
Cocaine produces a portion of its rewarding effects by increasing levels of granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) in the brain’s reward center. Treatments that prevent G-CSF signaling in the nucleus accumbens might reduce motivation to use cocaine.

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Digital Addiction Therapies Affirm Promise in Replication and Large Trial

November 2015
Two computerized programs improved outcomes when they were used to supplement or partially replace in-person behavioral therapy for drug addiction in recent NIDA-sponsored trials.

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Disruption of Serotonin Contributes to Cocaine’s Effects

February 2019
This research traced the effects of cocaine-induced disruption of serotonin regulation in the ventral pallidum and orbitofrontal cortex. The findings suggest that these effects may contribute to drug-seeking and cocaine-associated cognitive impairments.

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Dr. Thomas Kosten Q & A: Vaccines To Treat Addiction

June 2015
In this article and accompanying podcast, Dr. Thomas Kosten discusses the idea and current status of antidrug vaccines to treat substance use and addiction.

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EEG Indicates That Cocaine Relapse Vulnerability Peaks 1 to 6 Months Into Abstinence

September 2017
Electroencephalography (EEG) may provide an objective measure of cocaine-addicted participants’ vulnerability to cue-induced relapse. The assessment of cue-induced responsiveness may be useful in the clinical setting for assessing relapse risk and tailoring interventions to maintain abstinence among cocaine-addicted adults. 

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Endocannabinoid Regulates Cocaine Reward

March 2017
Investigators have shown that 2-AG, an endocannabinoid (i.e., a cannabinoid manufactured within the body, as opposed to plant-derived), augments the cocaine-induced dopamine surge in the brain’s reward system. The discovery adds to evidence that inhibiting activity in the endocannabinoid system might reduce cocaine’s rewarding and addictive effects.  

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Gene Transfer Therapy for Cocaine Addiction Passes Tests in Animals

January 2016
Giving mice a modified version of a naturally occurring gene blocks cocaine’s stimulant effects without affecting the animals’ physiological or metabolic health. The new evidence advances the proposed therapy a step closer to readiness for testing in people.

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How Cocaine Cues Get Planted in the Brain

September 2018
An epigenetic mechanism underlies the powerful cocaine–environment associations that promote relapse.

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Impacts of Drugs on Neurotransmission

March 2017
Drugs can alter the way people think, feel, and behave by disrupting neurotransmission, the process of communication between brain cells. This article discusses the central importance of studying drugs’ effects on neurotransmission and describes some of the most common experimental methods used in this research.  En Español

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