Effect of low doses of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on the extinction of cocaine-induced and amphetamine-induced conditioned place preference learning in rats

Academic Article


  • Rationale: Using the place-preference conditioning paradigm, we evaluated the potential of the two most prominent cannabinoids found in marijuana, the psychoactive component Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (A 9-THC) and the nonpsychoactive component cannabidiol (CBD), to potentiate extinction of a cocaine-induced and an amphetamine-induced conditioned place preference in rats. Methods: To determine the effects of pretreatment with Δ9-THC or CBD on extinction, a cocaine-induced and amphetamine-induced place preference was first established. Rats were then given an extinction trial, during which they were confined to the treatment-paired floor for 15 min. Thirty minutes prior to the extinction trial, they were injected with a low dose of Δ9-THC (0.5 mg/kg), CBD (5 mg/kg) or vehicle. The potential of the CB1 receptor antagonist, SR141716, to reverse the effects of Δ9-THC or CBD was also evaluated. To determine the hedonic effects of CBD, one distinctive floor was paired with CBD (5 mg/kg) and another with saline. Finally, to determine the effect of Δ9-THC or CBD on the establishment and/or the expression of a place preference during four cycles of conditioning trials, rats were injected with Δ9-THC (0.25-1 mg/kg), CBD (5 mg/kg) or vehicle 25 min prior to receiving an injection of amphetamine followed by placement on the treatment floor; on alternate days, they received injections of vehicle followed by saline and placement on the nontreatment floor. The rats then received two test trials; on one trial they were pretreated with the cannabinoid and on the other trial with vehicle. Results: Δ9-THC and CBD potentiated the extinction of both cocaine-induced and amphetamine-induced conditioned place preference learning, and this effect was not reversed by SR141716. The cannabinoids did not affect learning or retrieval, and CBD was not hedonic on its own. Conclusions: These results are the first to show that both Δ9-THC, which acts on both CB1 and CB2 receptors, and CBD, which does not bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors, potentiate the extinction of conditioned incentive learning.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Psychopharmacology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Parker LA; Burton P; Sorge RE; Yakiwchuk C; Mechoulam R
  • Start Page

  • 360
  • End Page

  • 366
  • Volume

  • 175
  • Issue

  • 3