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Eur J Pharmacol. 2013 Sep 5;715(1-3):111-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2013.06.001. Epub 2013 Jun 11.

Acute Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol blocks gastric hemorrhages induced by the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac sodium in mice.

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Department of Psychology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506-6040, USA.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are among the most widely used analgesics in the world, cause gastrointestinal inflammation that is potentially life-threatening. Although inhibitors of endocannabinoid catabolic enzymes protect against gastropathy in fasted NSAID-treated mice, the gastroprotective effects of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, have yet to be investigated. Male C57BL/6J mice were fasted, administered vehicle or Δ(9)-THC (.01-50mg/kg; oral or intraperitoneal), and then treated with the NSAID diclofenac sodium (100mg/kg, p.o.) to induce gastric lesions. In separate groups of mice, the cannabimimetic behavioral effects of Δ(9)-THC given via each route of administration were compared using a battery of tests, consisting of assessment of locomotor activity, nociception in the tail withdrawal test, catalepsy in the bar test, and hypothermia. Δ(9)-THC dose-dependently attenuated diclofenac-induced gastric hemorrhagic streaks through both p.o. and i.p. routes of administration (ED50 (95% confidence interval)=0.64 (0.26-1.55)mg/kg and 0.06 (0.01-0.34) mg/kg, respectively). Δ(9)-THC given i.p. was 2-3 orders of magnitude more potent in reducing diclofenac-induced gastric ulcers than in producing locomotor immobility, antinociception, hypothermia, and catalepsy, while the potency of ratio of p.o. Δ(9)-THC between each behavior measure was 7-18. These data indicate that the phytocannabinoid Δ(9)-THC protects against diclofenac-induced gastric inflammatory tissue damage at doses insufficient to cause common cannabinoid side effects.


Cannabinoid; Cyclooxygenase; Diclofenac; Gastric inflammation; NSAID dyspepsia; Tetrahydrocannabinol

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