Cannabis sativa (marijuana plant) contains myriad cannabinoid compounds; yet, investigative attention has focused almost exclusively on Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), its primary psychoactive substituent. Interest in modulation of THC’s effects by these other cannabinoids [e.g., cannabidiol (CBD)] has been stimulated anew by recent approval by Canada of Sativex (a 1:1 dose ratio combination of CBD:THC) for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The goal of this study was to determine the degree to which THC’s abuse-related effects were altered by co-administration of CBD. To this end, CBD and THC were assessed alone and in combination in a two-lever THC discrimination procedure in Long-Evans rats and in a conditioned place preference/aversion (CPP/A) model in ICR mice. CBD did not alter the discriminative stimulus effects of THC at any CBD:THC dose ratio tested. In contrast, CBD, at CBD:THC dose ratios of 1:1 and 1:10, reversed CPA produced by acute injection with 10 mg/kg THC. When administered alone, CBD did not produce effects in either procedure. These results suggest that CBD, when administered with THC at therapeutically relevant ratios, may ameliorate aversive effects (e.g., dysphoria) often associated with initial use of THC alone. While this effect may be beneficial for therapeutic usage of a CBD:THC combination medication, our discrimination results showing that CBD did not alter THC’s discriminative stimulus effects suggest that CBD:THC combination medications may also produce THC-like subjective effects at these dose ratios.
Read full study here