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Papers: 13 April 2024 - 19 April 2024

2024 Apr 15



β-caryophyllene inhibits heroin self-administration, but does not alter opioid-induced antinociception in rodents.


Galaj E, Bi GH, Xi ZX


A growing body of research indicates that β-caryophyllene (BCP), a constituent present in a large number of plants, possesses significant therapeutic properties against CNS disorders, including alcohol and psychostimulant use disorders. However, it is unknown whether BCP has similar therapeutic potential for opioid use disorders. In this study, we found that systemic administration of BCP dose-dependently reduced heroin self-administration in rats under an FR2 schedule of reinforcement and partially blocked heroin-enhanced brain stimulation reward in DAT-cre mice, maintained by optical stimulation of midbrain dopamine neurons at high frequencies. Acute administration of BCP failed to block heroin conditioned place preference (CPP) in male mice, but attenuated heroin-induced CPP in females. Furthermore, repeated dosing with BCP for 5 days facilitated the extinction of CPP in female but not male mice. In the hot plate assay, pretreatment with the same doses of BCP failed to enhance or prolong opioid antinociception. Lastly, in a substitution test, BCP replacement for heroin failed to maintain intravenous BCP self-administration, suggesting that BCP itself has no reinforcing properties. These findings suggest that BCP may have certain therapeutic effects against opioid use disorders with fewer unwanted side-effects by itself.