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Study hints at brain chemistry of cocaine withdrawal pain

Published on Sep 11, 2012 6:16 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - United States (US) researchers have uncovered part of what's happening, on a cellular level, to make cocaine addicts going cold turkey feel so bloody awful, according to a study published on Monday.

The results provide a better understanding of what's creating that crashing low of withdrawal - and may offer a clue for researchers looking to mitigate the symptoms and keep the user from relapsing.

Studying genetically-engineered mice, the researchers focused on a molecule - called cannabinoid receptor 1, or CB1 - that slows communication between nerve cells.

The molecule is particularly important in what is called the nucleus accumbens region of the brain, which governs emotion and motivation.

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