A low-Δ9tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis extract induces hyperphagia in rats

aSchools of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences bPharmacy, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, UK.
Behavioural Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.15). 11/2010; 21(8):769–772. DOI: 10.1097/FBP.0b013e328340a062


Appetite stimulation via partial agonism of cannabinoid type 1 receptors by Δ9tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9THC) is well documented and can be modulated by non-Δ9THC phytocannabinoids. Δ9THC concentrations sufficient to elicit hyperphagia induce changes to both appetitive (reduced latency to feed) and consummatory (increased meal one size and duration) behaviours. Here, we show that a cannabis extract containing too little Δ9THC to stimulate appetite can induce hyperphagia solely by increasing appetitive behaviours. Twelve, male Lister hooded rats were presatiated before treatment with a low-Δ9THC cannabis extract (0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 mg/kg). Hourly intake and meal pattern data were recorded and analyzed using one-way analyses of variance followed by Bonferroni post-hoc tests. The cannabis extract significantly increased food intake during the first hour of testing (at 4.0 mg/kg) and significantly reduced the latency to feed versus vehicle treatments (at doses ≥1.0 mg/kg). Meal size and duration were unaffected. These results show only the increase in appetitive behaviours, which could be attributed to non-Δ9THC phytocannabinoids in the extract rather than Δ9THC. Although further study is required to determine the constituents responsible for these effects, these results support the presence of non-Δ9THC cannabis constituent(s) that exert a stimulatory effect on appetite and likely lack the detrimental psychoactive effects of Δ9THC.

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