Cannabinoids, opioids and eating behavior:
The molecular face of hedonism?

Cota D, Tschop MH, Horvath TL, Levine AS.
Obesity Research Center, Department of Psychiatry,
University of Cincinnati-Genome Research Institute,
2170 E Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45237, USA.
Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 2005 Dec 15;


Obesity represents nowadays one of the most devastating health threats. Published reports even project a decline in life expectancy of US citizens due to the rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity. This alarming increase is intimately linked with recent changes of environment and lifestyle in western countries. In this context, the rewarding or even addictive properties of popular food may represent one of the most serious obstacles to overcome for an effective anti-obesity therapy. Therefore, in addition to molecular networks controlling energy homeostasis, now researchers are starting to define central nervous mechanisms governing hedonic and addictive components of food intake. A recently emerging body of data suggests that the endogenous cannabinoid and opioid systems both represent key circuits responding to the rewarding value of food. This review focuses on the role of these two systems for the homeostatic and hedonic aspects of eating behavior and includes their anatomical and functional interactions. Independent from the degree to which eating can be considered an addiction, cannabinoid and opioid receptor antagonists are promising anti-obesity drugs, since they are targeting both hedonic and homeostatic components of energy balance control.
Morphine worms
Opiated crickets
Novelty and pain
The hedonic hotspot
Opioids, mood and cognition
Opioids, dopamine and alcohol
Opioids, goldfish and the giant toad
Heroin, cocaine and the squirrel monkey

and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World

The Good Drug Guide
The Good Drug Guide

The Responsible Parent's Guide
To Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family