Animal Models of Cannabis Use Disorder

  • Zuzana JustinovaEmail author


Cannabis use has the potential to produce adverse physical and mental health effects and can result in cannabis use disorder (CUD). People affected by CUD have difficulty discontinuing cannabis use, and there are currently no approved medications for the treatment of CUD. Preclinical research in animals has been invaluable in uncovering neurobiological underpinnings of many neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as for the development of safe and effective medications. There are animal models available that can capture various aspects of cannabis abuse and detect signals that inform further development of CUD treatments. This chapter describes animal models available for the assessment of rewarding, relapse-inducing, subjective, and other abuse-related effects of cannabinoids and some of the findings obtained with these models.


Animal model Cannabinoids Reward Self-administration Relapse Drug discrimination Nonhuman primate Rodent THC Withdrawal 





Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor type alpha-7


Adenosine receptor type A2A


Anandamide transport inhibitor


Anandamide transport inhibitor


Cannabis use disorder


Cannabinoid receptor type 1


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (2013)


Fatty acid amide hydrolase


Gamma-aminobutyric acid



CP 55,940

A synthetic CB1 agonist

WIN 55,212

A synthetic CB1 agonist



The preparation of this manuscript was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Preclinical Pharmacology Section, Behavioral Neuroscience Research Branch, NIDA, NIH, DHHSBaltimoreUSA

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