Bernard Le Foll MD,PhD
Bernard Le Foll
Contact Info
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Translational Addiction Research Laboratory
33 Russell Street
Toronto, ON, M5S 2S1
CREMS Students
Graduate Students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Summer Students
Research Interests
Addiction Medicine, Experimental, Systematic Reviews, Quantitative Data Analysis

Dr. Bernard Le Foll is a Clinician Scientist specializing in addiction. He is Head of the Translational Addiction Research Laboratory in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute. He is also the Medical Head of the Concurrent Outpatient Medical and Psychosocial Addiction Support Service (COMPASS) in the Acute Care Program. He is overseeing a large clinical team with 20 addiction physicians that deliver outpatient addiction services for various substances (alcohol, opiates, psychostimulants, cannabis..). He is Head of the Alcohol Research and Treatment Clinic at CAMH. He is Professor at University of Toronto in the departments of Family and Community Medicine, Pharmacology, Psychiatry and Institute of Medical Sciences.


Research Synopsis

Dr. Le Foll received specialized training in drug addiction and behavioral and cognitive therapy at Paris University in France. He has written treatment guidelines and has been coordinator of clinical trials. He obtained a PhD in pharmacology at INSERM and completed a Fogarty Visiting Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. He has received scientific prizes and awards from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the National Institutes of Health, the French Academy of Medicine, the American College for Neuropsychopharmacology, the College on Problems on Drug Dependence, the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, the Brain and Behavior Foundation, Pfizer, OPGRC, the Ontario Lung Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

A large focus in the last few years has been to integrate research in the clinical settings and to lead multi-disciplinary research teams.

The main goal of the research is to improve treatment of drug addiction. For this purpose, several clinical trials have been implemented to test novel treatment interventions for various substance use disorders.

Several studies have been implemented to study the negative impact of cannabis (for ex, addictive potential, impact on driving abilities) and the possible positive impact (studying the medical potential of cannabis in various medical conditions).

The impact of substance use is also studied with basic research approaches (notably brain imaging) and epidemiological studies in large cohorts of subjects.


Dr Le Foll’s research is primarily coming from NIH, CIHR and various funding organizations. Current projects are covering cannabis, opioid, alcohol and tobacco.

Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications

Cocker PJ, Lin MY, Barrus MM, Le Foll B, Winstanley CA. The agranular and granular insula differentially contribute to gambling-like behavior on a rat slot machine task: effects of inactivation and local infusion of a dopamine D4 agonist on reward expectancy. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 Sep;233(17):3135-47. doi:10.1007/s00213-016-4355-1.

Gueye AB, Pryslawsky Y, Trigo JM, Poulia N, Delis F, Antoniou K, Loureiro M, Laviolette SR, Vemuri K, Makriyannis A, Le Foll B. The CB1 Neutral Antagonist AM4113 Retains the Therapeutic Efficacy of the Inverse Agonist Rimonabant for Nicotine Dependence and Weight Loss with Better Psychiatric Tolerability. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016 Dec 30;19(12). pii: pyw068. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyw068.

Sokoloff P, Le Foll B. The dopamine D3 receptor, a quarter century later. Eur J Neurosci. 2017 Jan;45(1):2-19. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13390.

Bridgman AC, Barr MS, Goodman MS, Zomorrodi R, Rajji T, Le Foll B, Chen R, Daskalakis ZJ, George TP. Effects of varenicline on motor cortical plasticity in non-smokers with schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2016 Dec;178(1-3):50-55. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2016.08.031.

Thiruchselvam T, Malik S, Le Foll B. A review of positron emission tomography studies exploring the dopaminergic system in substance use with a focus on tobacco as a co-variate. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2017 Mar;43(2):197-214. doi:10.1080/00952990.2016.1257633.

Payer D, Williams B, Mansouri E, Stevanovski S, Nakajima S, Le Foll B, Kish S, Houle S, Mizrahi R, George SR, George TP, Boileau I. Corticotropin-releasing hormone and dopamine release in healthy individuals. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017 Feb;76:192-196. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.11.034.

Sabioni P, Le Foll B. Psychosocial and pharmacological interventions for the treatment of cannabis use disorder. F1000Res. 2018 Feb 12;7:173. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.11191.1.

Loheswaran G, Barr MS, Zomorrodi R, Rajji TK, Blumberger DM, Le Foll B, Daskalakis ZJ. Alcohol Impairs N100 Response to Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Stimulation. Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 21;8(1):3428. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-21457-z.

Minian N, Noormohamed A, Zawertailo L, Baliunas D, Giesbrecht N, Le Foll B, Rehm J, Samokhvalov A, Selby PL. A method for co-creation of an evidence-based patient workbook to address alcohol use when quitting smoking in primary care: a case study. Res Involv Engagem. 2018 Feb 5;4:4. doi: 10.1186/s40900-018-0086-2.

Trigo JM, Soliman A, Quilty LC, Fischer B, Rehm J, Selby P, Barnes AJ, Huestis MA, George TP, Streiner DL, Staios G, Le Foll B. Nabiximols combined with motivational enhancement/cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of cannabis dependence: A pilot randomized clinical trial. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 31;13(1):e0190768. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190768.

Di Ciano P, Tyndale RF, Mansouri E, Hendershot CS, Wilson AA, Lagzdins D, Houle S, Boileau I, Le Foll B. Influence of Nicotine Metabolism Ratio on [11C]-(+)-PHNO PET Binding in Tobacco Smokers. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2018 Jun 1;21(6):503-512. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyx119.

Peng AR, Le Foll B, Morales M, Lerman C, Schnoll R, Tyndale RF. Improvement of the association between self-reported pill count and varenicline levels following exclusion of participants with misreported pill count: A commentary on Peng et al. (2017). Addict Behav. 2018 Apr;79:14-16. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.11.032.

Malik S, Jacobs M, Cho SS, Boileau I, Blumberger D, Heilig M, Wilson A, Daskalakis ZJ, Strafella AP, Zangen A, Le Foll B. Deep TMS of the insula using the H-coil modulates dopamine release: a crossover [(11)C] PHNO-PET pilot trial in healthy humans. Brain Imaging Behav. 2018 Oct;12(5):1306-1317. doi: 10.1007/s11682-017-9800-1.

Di Ciano P, Manvich DF, Pushparaj A, Gappasov A, Hess EJ, Weinshenker D, Le Foll B. Effects of disulfiram on choice behavior in a rodent gambling task: association with catecholamine levels. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018 Jan;235(1):23-35. doi: 10.1007/s00213-017-4744-0.

Wardell JD, Le Foll B, Hendershot CS. Preliminary evaluation of a human laboratory model of impaired control over alcohol using intravenous alcohol self-administration. J Psychopharmacol. 2018 Jan;32(1):105-115. doi: 10.1177/0269881117723000.

Di Ciano P, Cormick PM, Stefan C, Wong E, Kim A, Remington G, Le Foll B. The effects of buspirone on occupancy of dopamine receptors and the rat gambling task. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017 Nov;234(22):3309-3320. doi: 10.1007/s00213-017-4715-5.

Hassan AN, Howe AS, Samokhvalov AV, Le Foll B, George TP. Management of mood and anxiety disorders in patients receiving opioid agonist therapy: Review and meta-analysis. Am J Addict. 2017 Sep;26(6):551-563. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12581.

Fischer B, Russell C, Sabioni P, van den Brink W, Le Foll B, Hall W, Rehm J, Room R. Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines: A Comprehensive Update of Evidence and Recommendations. Am J Public Health. 2017 Aug;107(8):e1-e12. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303818.

Samokhvalov AV, Awan S, George TP, Irving J, Le Foll B, Perrotta S, Probst C, Voore P, Rehm J. Integrated care pathway for co-occurring major depressive and alcohol use disorders: Outcomes of the first two years. Am J Addict. 2017 Sep;26(6):602-609. doi: 10.1111/ajad.12572.

Sloan ME, Gowin JL, Ramchandani VA, Hurd YL, Le Foll B. The endocannabinoid system as a target for addiction treatment: Trials and tribulations. Neuropharmacology. 2017 Sep 15;124:73-83. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.05.031.

Minian N, Baliunas D, Zawertailo L, Noormohamed A, Giesbrecht N, Hendershot CS, Le Foll B, Rehm J, Samokhvalov A, Selby PL. Combining alcohol interventions with tobacco addictions treatment in primary care-the COMBAT study: a pragmatic cluster randomized trial. Implement Sci. 2017 May 18;12(1):65. doi: 10.1186/s13012-017-0595-7.

Thiruchselvam T, Wilson AA, Boileau I, Le Foll B. A Preliminary Investigation of the Effect of Acute Alcohol on Dopamine Transmission as Assessed by [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017 Jun;41(6):1112-1119. doi: 10.1111/acer.13403.

Nielsen S, Sabioni P, Trigo JM, Ware MA, Betz-Stablein BD, Murnion B, Lintzeris N, Khor KE, Farrell M, Smith A, Le Foll B. Opioid-Sparing Effect of Cannabinoids: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Aug;42(9):1752-1765. doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.51.

Imtiaz S, Loheswaran G, Le Foll B, Rehm J. Longitudinal alcohol consumption patterns and health-related quality of life: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2018 Jan;37(1):48-55. doi: 10.1111/dar.12503.

Samokhvalov AV, Le Foll B. A 35-year-old woman with low mood and concerns about her alcohol use. CMAJ. 2017 Feb 27;189(8):E317-E318. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.160132.

Le Foll B, Thiruchselvam T, Lu SX, Mohammed S, Mansouri E, Lagzdins D, Nakajima S, Wilson AA, Graff-Guerrero A, Di Ciano P, Boileau I. Investigating the effects of norepinephrine α1 receptor blockade on dopamine levels: A pilot PET study with [(11) C]-(+)-PHNO in controls. Synapse. 2017 Jul;71(7). doi: 10.1002/syn.21968.

Socias ME, Ahamad K, Le Foll B, Lim R, Bruneau J, Fischer B, Wild TC, Wood E, Jutras-Aswad D. The OPTIMA study, buprenorphine/naloxone and methadone models of care for the treatment of prescription opioid use disorder: Study design and rationale. Contemp Clin Trials. 2018 Jun;69:21-27. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 Apr 5.

Samokhvalov AV, Probst C, Awan S, George TP, Le Foll B, Voore P, Rehm J. Outcomes of an integrated care pathway for concurrent major depressive and alcohol use disorders: a multisite prospective cohort study. BMC Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 13;18(1):189. doi: 10.1186/s12888-018-1770-3.

Lévesque A, Le Foll B. When and How to Treat Possible Cannabis Use Disorder. Med Clin North Am. 2018 Jul;102(4):667-681. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2018.02.009.

Jutras-Aswad D, Le Foll B, Bruneau J, Wild TC, Wood E, Fischer B. Thinking Beyond Legalization: The Case for Expanding Evidence-Based Options for Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment in Canada. Can J Psychiatry. 2019 Feb;64(2):82-87. doi: 10.1177/0706743718790955.

Bozinoff N, Le Foll B. Understanding the implications of the biobehavioral basis of nicotine addiction and its impact on the efficacy of treatment. Expert Rev Respir Med. 2018 Sep;12(9):793-804. doi: 10.1080/17476348.2018.1507736.

Yücel M, Oldenhof E, Ahmed SH, Belin D, Billieux J, Bowden-Jones H, Carter A, Chamberlain SR, Clark L, Connor J, Daglish M, Dom G, Dannon P, Duka T, Fernandez-Serrano MJ, Field M, Franken I, Goldstein RZ, Gonzalez R, Goudriaan AE, Grant JE, Gullo MJ, Hester R, Hodgins DC, Le Foll B, Lee RSC, Lingford-Hughes A, Lorenzetti V, Moeller SJ, Munafò MR, Odlaug B, Potenza MN, Segrave R, Sjoerds Z, Solowij N, van den Brink W, van Holst RJ, Voon V, Wiers R, Fontenelle LF, Verdejo-Garcia A. A transdiagnostic dimensional approach towards a neuropsychological assessment for addiction: an international Delphi consensus study. Addiction. 2019 Jun;114(6):1095-1109. doi: 10.1111/add.14424

Sloan ME, Grant CW, Gowin JL, Ramchandani VA, Le Foll B. Endocannabinoid signaling in psychiatric disorders: a review of positron emission tomography studies. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2019 Mar;40(3):342-350. doi: 10.1038/s41401-018-0081-z. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

Gendy MNS, Di Ciano P, Kowalczyk WJ, Barrett SP, George TP, Heishman S, Le Foll B. Testing the PPAR hypothesis of tobacco use disorder in humans: A randomized trial of the impact of gemfibrozil (a partial PPARα agonist) in smokers. PLoS One. 2018 Sep 27;13(9):e0201512. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201512.

Zawertailo L, Mansoursadeghi-Gilan T, Zhang H, Hussain S, Le Foll B, Selby P. Varenicline and Bupropion for Long-Term Smoking Cessation (the MATCH Study): Protocol for a Real-World, Pragmatic, Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Res Protoc. 2018 Oct 18;7(10):e10826. doi: 10.2196/10826.

Le Foll B, French L. Transcriptomic Characterization of the Human Habenula Highlights Drug Metabolism and the Neuroimmune System. Front Neurosci. 2018 Oct 31;12:742. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00742.

Di Ciano P, Mansouri E, Tong J, Wilson AA, Houle S, Boileau I, Duvauchelle T, Robert P, Schwartz JC, Le Foll B. Occupancy of dopamine D(2) and D(3) receptors by a novel D3 partial agonist BP1.4979: a [(11)C]-(+)-PHNO PET study in humans. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 Jun;44(7):1284-1290. doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0285-4.

Nielsen S, Gowing L, Sabioni P, Le Foll B. Pharmacotherapies for cannabis dependence. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Jan 28;1:CD008940. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008940.pub3.

Hassan AN, Le Foll B. Polydrug use disorders in individuals with opioid use disorder. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 May 1;198:28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2019.01.031.

Butler K, Le Foll B. Impact of Substance Use Disorder Pharmacotherapy on Executive Function: A Narrative Review. Front Psychiatry. 2019 Mar 1;10:98. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00098.

Nona CN, Hendershot CS, Le Foll B. Effects of cannabidiol on alcohol-related outcomes: A review of preclinical and human research. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2019 May 23. doi: 10.1037/pha0000272.

Gendy MNS, Ibrahim C, Sloan ME, Le Foll B. Randomized Clinical Trials Investigating Innovative Interventions for Smoking Cessation in the Last Decade. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2019 Jul 3. doi: 10.1007/164_2019_253.

Trigo JM, Le Foll B. Nicotine Self-Administration as Paradigm for Medication Discovery for Smoking Cessation: Recent Findings in Medications Targeting the Cholinergic System. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;2011:165-193. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9554-7_11.

Chukwueke CC, Le Foll B. The Human Laboratory and Drug Development in Alcohol Use Disorder: Recent Updates. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;2011:195-219. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9554-7_12.

Andrews CN, Devlin SM, Le Foll B, Fischer B, Tse F, Storr M, Congly SE. Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Position Statement: Use of Cannabis in Gastroenterological and Hepatic Disorders. J Can Assoc Gastroenterol. 2019 Apr;2(1):37-43. doi: 10.1093/jcag/gwy064.

Ibrahim C, Rubin-Kahana DS, Pushparaj A, Musiol M, Blumberger DM, Daskalakis ZJ, Zangen A, Le Foll B. The Insula: A Brain Stimulation Target for the Treatment of Addiction. Front Pharmacol. 2019 Jul 2;10:720. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00720.

Boileau I, Mansouri E, Williams B, Le Foll B, Rusjan P, Mizrahi R, Tyndale RF, Huestis MA, Payer DE, Wilson AA, Houle S, Kish SJ, Tong J. Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Binding in Brain of Cannabis Users: Imaging With the Novel Radiotracer [(11)C]CURB. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Online PMID: 27345297.

Trigo JM, Soliman A, Staios G, Quilty L, Fischer B, George TP, Rehm J, Selby P, Barnes AJ, Huestis MA, Le Foll B. Sativex Associated With Behavioral-Relapse Prevention Strategy as Treatment for Cannabis Dependence: A Case Series. (2016) J Addict Med. Online

Gates PJ, Sabioni P, Copeland J, Le Foll B, Gowing L. Psychosocial interventions for cannabis use disorder.(2016)  Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (5):CD005336

Trigo JM, Lagzdins D, Rehm J, Selby P, Gamaleddin I, Fischer B, Barnes AJ, Huestis MA, Le Foll B. Effects of fixed or self-titrated dosages of Sativex on cannabis withdrawal and cravings. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 2016 Feb. In Press. 

Le Foll B. What does addiction medicine expect from neuroscience? From genes and neurons to treatment responses. (2016) Prog Brain Res. 224:419-47. 

Le Foll B, Payer D, Ciano PD, Guranda M, Nakajima S, Tong J, Mansouri E, Wilson AA, Houle S, Meyer JH, Graff-Guerrero A, Boileau I. Occupancy of Dopamine D3 and D2 Receptors by Buspirone: A [11C]-(+)-PHNO PET Study in Humans. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016 Jan;41(2):529-37. 

Loheswaran G, Barr MS, Rajji TK, Zomorrodi R, Le Foll B, Daskalakis ZJ. Brain Stimulation in Alcohol Dependence: Investigational and Therapeutic Tools. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. 2016 Jan;1(1):5-13. 

Di Ciano P, Guranda M, Lagzdins D, Tyndale RF, Gamaleddin I, Selby P, Boileau I, Le Foll B. Varenicline-Induced Elevation of Dopamine in Smokers: A Preliminary [11C]-(+)-PHNO PET Study. (2016) Neuropsychopharmacology. 41 (6):1513-20.

Honours and Awards

2003             Early Career investigator Award of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.
2003             Laureate of the French Academy of Medicine, France.
2004             Fellow Award for Research Excellence, NIH, Bethesda, MD.
2006             New Investigator Award of Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 
2006             New Investigator Award of CIHR Training Program in Tobacco Use in Special Populations.
2013             Pfiasky Young Investigator Award, Canadian Society of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
2015            Member to American College of Neuropsychopharmacology