Effects of daily delta(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) alone or combined with cannabidiol (CBD) on cognition-based behavior and activity in adolescent nonhuman primates
Background: Daily use of marijuana is rising in adolescents, along with consumption of high potency marijuana products (high % Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC). These dual, related trends have opened gaps in understanding the long-term effects of daily consumption of a high dose of THC in adolescents and whether a therapeutic dose of cannabidiol (CBD) modulates THC effects.
Methods: Adolescent squirrel monkeys (Saimiri boliviensis) were treated daily for four months with vehicle (n = 4), a high THC dose (1 mg/kg i.m.; n = 4), or THC + CBD (1 mg/kg +3 mg/kg i.m.; n = 4), to investigate whether: (1) a daily high THC dose affects performance in tasks of cognition (repeated acquisition, discrimination reversal); (2) a daily high THC dose affects spontaneous behavior and day/night activity (3) tolerance develops to the behavioral effects of THC; (4) whether CBD modulates THC effects.
Results: THC impaired performance of adolescent monkeys in a cognitive test initially, but not performance on a task of cognitive flexibility. THC reduced motor activity and increased sedentary behavior, with tolerance developing after weeks of daily treatment. Co-administered with THC, CBD did not modulate THC effects on cognitive performance, activity or tolerance, but prevented THC-induced emesis on the first day of daily treatment.
Conclusions: Daily high dosing with THC compromised performance on a task of cognition, and reduced activity in adolescent primates, with tolerance developing within weeks. Whether our observations are relevant to a broader range of cognitive tasks vital for daily function in human adolescents is uncertain.
Keywords: Adolescent monkeys; CBD; Cannabidiol; Cannabis; Cognition; Emesis; Marijuana; Nonhuman primates; Sleep; THC; Unconditioned behavior; Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.