The Effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) on Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Self-Administration in Male and Female Long-Evans Rats

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Abstract

Despite widespread cannabis use in humans, few rodent models exist demonstrating significant Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) self-administration, possibly due to THC’s co-occurring aversive effects, which impact drug reinforcement. Cannabis contains a number of phytocannabinoids in addition to THC, one of which, cannabidiol (CBD), has been reported to antagonize some of the aversive effects of THC. Given such effects of CBD, it is possible that it might influence THC intravenous self-administration in rodents. Accordingly, male and female Long-Evans rats were trained to self-administer THC over a 3-week period and then were assessed for the effects of CBD on responding for THC at 1:1 and 1:10 dose ratios or for the establishment of cocaine self-administration (as a positive control for drug self-administration). Consistent with previous research, THC self-administration was modest and only evident in a subset of animals (and unaffected by sex). Cocaine self-administration was high and evident in the majority of animals tested, indicating that the design was sensitive to drug reinforcement. There was no effect of CBD pretreatment on THC intravenous self-administration at any CBD:THC dose ratio. Future developments of animal models of THC self-administration and the examination of factors that affect its display remain important to establish procedures designed to assess the basis for and treatment of cannabis use and abuse.

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