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Behav Brain Res. 2006 Apr 3;168(2):307-11. Epub 2006 Jan 6.

Scopolamine and MK801-induced working memory deficits in rats are not reversed by CBD-rich cannabis extracts.

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  • 1School of Medical Sciences, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Institute of Medical Sciences, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK.


Smoking marijuana causes working and short-term memory deficits, an effect that is mediated by cannabinoid receptor (CB1) activation in the brain. While this may be due to the main psychoactive constituent Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta9-THC), plant extracts also contain other cannabinoid and terpenoid compounds with unknown properties. Towards this end, we have recently shown that high concentrations of plant extracts rich in cannabidiol (CBD) can reverse working memory deficits induced by Delta9-THC which is a remaining contaminant of this extract [Fadda P, Robinson L, Fratta W, Pertwee RG, Riedel G. Differential effects of THC- and CBD-rich cannabis-extracts on working memory in rats. Neuropahrmacology 2004;47:1170-9]. Since this effect was dose-dependent and indicative of memory enhancing qualities of the CBD-rich extract, this prompted a wider investigation into the effects of CBD on other forms of amnesia in order to determine the mechanism of action and to reveal its potency against anticholinergic and antiglutamatergic agents. We employed a spatial delayed matching to position task in the open-field water maze. Both scopolamine (0.2 mg/kg i.p.) and dizocilpine (MK801: 0.1mg/kg i.p.) impaired working memory at delays of 30 s and 4 h. Two doses of CBD-rich extracts (5 and 10 mg/kg), which did not affect working memory when given alone, were unable to reverse these deficits when co-administered with scopolamine or MK801. These data suggest that reversal of working memory deficits by CBD-rich extracts are specific to the cannabinoid system and do not compensate for acutely induced cholinergic or glutamatergic receptor hypoactivity.

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