Appetitive, antinociceptive, and hypothermic effects of vaped and injected Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in rats: exposure and dose-effect comparisons by strain and sex

Catherine F. Moore, Catherine Davis-Takacs, Eric L. Harvey, Michael A. Taffe, Elise M. Weerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Advances in drug vapor exposure systems have enabled evaluation of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) vapor effects in laboratory animals. The purpose of this study was to 1) establish a range of parameters of THC vapor exposure in rats sufficient to produce a behavioral dose-effect curve in a battery of tasks sensitive to THC; and 2) to investigate sex differences in the effects of THC vapor exposure and THC injection (intraperitoneal, IP) on these behaviors in two strains of outbred rats. Male and female Sprague Dawley and Wistar rats (N = 22, 5–6/sex per group) received THC via passive vapor exposure (200 mg/mL; 5 conditions) and IP injection (1–20 mg/kg) in a within subject design. The effects of vaped and injected THC on appetite was determined using progressive ratio responding for food pellets. THC effects on nociception, measured using the tail withdrawal assay, and body temperature were also assessed during a 5-h test period for evaluation of time course of effects. Plasma THC concentrations were assessed after THC vapor and 10 mg/kg IP THC. THC vapor produced exposure-related increases and decreases in motivation to obtain food under the progressive ratio schedule. IP THC (3–20 mg/kg) reduced breakpoints. Vaped and injected THC produced exposure and dose-dependent antinociception and hypothermia. Sex and strain differences in THC effects were also observed. Plasma THC concentrations were higher after 10 mg/kg IP THC (152 ng/mL) compared to the highest vapor exposure condition tested (38 ng/mL), but magnitude of behavioral effects were comparable. THC vapor exposure produced reliable, dose orderly effects on food-maintained behavior, nociception, and body temperature that are comparable to effects of IP THC, although there were differences in the time course of behavioral outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number173116
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Volume202
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Appetite
  • Cannabinoids
  • Hypothermia
  • Nociception
  • THC
  • Vapor exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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