April 2014 Exposing rats to THC increases the likelihood that the animals will later self-administer nicotine. THC-exposed rats are also willing to work harder to obtain nicotine. When extrapolated to people, the findings suggest that THC’s pharmacological impact on the brain may make a person who uses marijuana more vulnerable to developing nicotine addiction, an underappreciated health consequence of marijuana use.
October 2009 Reports on an animal study suggesting that the manic stage of bipolar disorder promotes signs of drug abuse vulnerability by enhancing sensitivity to rewards, both natural and drug-related.
April 2009 Describes findings from an animal study showing that cocaine lowers availability of dopamine receptors in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that includes portions of the reward system.
February 2014 Teen mothers on three American Indian reservations improved on several measures of parenting after participating in Family Spirit, a home-visiting intervention developed with NIDA support. At 12 months postpartum, the women’s children exhibited reduced rates of emotional difficulties predicting later drug abuse and other behavioral problems. Infants at highest risk—those whose mothers had histories of drug abuse—benefited the most.
April 2014 Almost one-third (32 percent) of the roughly 42,000 Monitoring the Future survey respondents reported having used marijuana during their lifetime. However, abuse of many other drugs—methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and some prescription medications—declined.
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.
February 2007 Discusses the work of NIDA’s Division of Basic Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, the Institute’s locus for studies into the fundamental brain mechanisms underlying drug abuse and addiction.