Cannabis constituents modulate ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol-induced hyperphagia in rats
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00213-010-1821-z
Rationale The hyperphagic effect of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9THC) in humans and rodents is well known. However, no studies have investigated the importance of ∆9THC composition and any influence other non-∆9THC cannabinoids present in Cannabis sativa may have. We therefore compared the effects of purified ∆9THC, synthetic ∆9THC (dronabinol), and ∆9THC botanical drug substance (∆9THC-BDS), a ∆9THC-rich standardized extract comparable in composition to recreationally used cannabis. Methods Adult male rats were orally dosed with purified ∆9THC, synthetic ∆9THC, or ∆9THC-BDS, matched for ∆9THC content (0.34–2.68 mg/kg). Prior to dosing, subjects were satiated, and food intake was recorded following ∆9THC administration. Data were then analyzed in terms of hourly intake and meal patterns. Results All three ∆9THC substances tested induced significant hyperphagic effects at doses ≥0.67 mg/kg. These effects included increased intake during hour one, a shorter latency to onset of feeding and a greater duration and consumption in the first meal. However, while some differences in vehicle control intakes were observed, there were significant, albeit subtle, differences in pattern of effects between the purified ∆9THC and ∆9THC-BDS. Conclusion All ∆9THC compounds displayed classical ∆9THC effects on feeding, significantly increasing short-term intake whilst decreasing latency to the first meal. We propose that the subtle adjustment to the meal patterns seen between the purified ∆9THC and ∆9THC-BDS are due to non-∆9THC cannabinoids present in ∆9THC-BDS. These compounds and other non-cannabinoids have an emerging and diverse pharmacology and can modulate ∆9THC-induced hyperphagia, making them worth further investigation for their therapeutic potential.