, Volume 193, Issue 1, pp 75–84 | Cite as

MDMA attenuates THC withdrawal syndrome in mice

Original Investigation



3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and cannabis are widely abused illicit drugs that are frequently consumed in combination. Interactions between these two drugs have been reported in several pharmacological responses observed in animals, such as body temperature, anxiety, cognition, and reward. However, the interaction between MDMA and cannabis in addictive processes such as physical dependence has not been elucidated yet.


In this study, the effects of acute and chronic MDMA were evaluated on the behavioral manifestations of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) abstinence in mice. THC withdrawal syndrome was precipitated by injecting the cannabinoid antagonist rimonabant (10 mg/kg, i.p.) in mice chronically treated with THC and receiving MDMA (2.5, 5 and 10 mg/kg i.p.) or saline just before the withdrawal induction or chronically after the THC administration.


Both chronic and acute MDMA decreased in a dose-dependent manner the severity of THC withdrawal. In vivo microdialysis experiments showed that acute MDMA (5 mg/kg, i.p.) administration increased extracellular serotonin levels in the prefrontal cortex, but not dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens. Our results also indicate that the attenuation of THC abstinence symptoms was not due to a direct interaction between rimonabant and MDMA nor to the result of the locomotor stimulating effects of MDMA.


The modulation of the cannabinoid withdrawal syndrome by acute or chronic MDMA suggests a possible mechanism to explain the associated consumption of these two drugs in humans.


Psychostimulant Cannabinoid Physical dependence In vivo microdialysis 











3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine



This study was supported by grants from Spanish MCYT (SAF 2004/568; BFU 2004/920BFI), Generalitat de Catalunya (2005SGR00131), European Communities (GENADDICT LSHM-CT-2004-005166), and National Institute of Health (NIH) (extramural research project #DA016768). CT has a fellowship supported by the Department of Education and Universities from Generalitat de Catalunya and by the Social European Fund. Ms Dulce Real in this work is kindly acknowledged for her excellent technical assistance in the in vivo microdialysis experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clara Touriño
    • 1
  • Rafael Maldonado
    • 2
  • Olga Valverde
    • 1
  1. 1.Grup de Recerca de Neurobiologia del ComportamentDepartament de Ciències Experimentals i de la Salut, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, PRBBBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Laboratori de Neurofarmacologia, Departament de Ciències de Experimentals i de la SalutUniversitat Pompeu Fabra, PRBBBarcelonaSpain

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