Effects of morphine/CP55940 mixtures on an impulsive choice task in rhesus monkeys

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Abstract

µ-Opioid receptor agonists are commonly used to treat pain despite their adverse effects. In preclinical studies, cannabinoid receptor agonists increase the potency of opioids for producing antinociceptive but not reinforcing effects. It is unknown whether other adverse effects of these drugs, such as impairment of complex behavior, are enhanced by their co-administration. This study characterized the effects of morphine (µ-opioid receptor agonist; 0.32–5.6 mg/kg, subcutaneously) and CP55940 (CB1/CB2 cannabinoid receptor agonist; 0.0032–0.32 mg/kg, subcutaneously), alone and in mixtures, in monkeys (n=3) choosing between one pellet delivered immediately and two pellets delivered after a delay. Two consecutive choices of the immediate or delayed reward decreased or increased, respectively, the delay. The median adjusted delay, indicating indifference between the immediate and delayed reinforcers, was increased by morphine (3.2 mg/kg) and CP55940 (0.01–0.032 mg/kg). Performance after administration of morphine (0.32 and 1 mg/kg)/CP55940 (0.0032–0.032 mg/kg) mixtures was not different from performance after CP55940 alone. Neither morphine, CP55940, nor mixtures decreased the median adjusted delay (i.e. increased impulsivity). These findings failed to confirm previous studies showing that morphine increases impulsivity, perhaps because of procedural differences among studies. Treatment of pain often requires repeated drug administration; thus, it remains to be determined whether the present findings predict the effects of chronically administered morphine/CP5540 mixtures on impulsive choice.

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