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Eur J Pharmacol. 1977 Jan 21;41(2):171-82.

Environmental stress as a factor in the response of rat brain catecholamine metabolism to delta8-tetrahydrocannabinol.


In rats housed normally (aggregated, food and water ad lib) for fourteen days delta8-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produced mild sedation and minimal hypothermia. An increase in noradrenaline synthesis was observed, but brain dopamine metabolism was unchanged. In rats removed from this 'normal' environment to conditions of isolation and food deprivation for 24 h THC produced immobility, marked hyper-reactivity, and hypothermia. Brain noradrenaline metabolism was unchanged by THC under these conditions, but significant changes in striatal dopamine metabolism were observed. These changes are consistent with increased dopamine reuptake in striatum produced by this combination of THC and novel environment. It is suggested that some of the behavioural effects of cannabis administered under stressful conditions may be related to alterations in striatal dopamine metabolism.

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