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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1984;83(4):351-6.

Reinforcing properties of oral delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, smoked marijuana, and nabilone: influence of previous marijuana use.


The reinforcing properties of delta 9THC (17.5 mg), a 1 g marijuana cigarette containing 1.83% delta 9-THC, a synthetic cannabis compound (Nabilone 2 mg orally), and their respective placebos were assessed with self-report and operant work-contingent choice procedures. Three groups of eight subjects were selected on the basis of a history of regular, intermittent, or occasional marijuana-smoking behavior. All subjects served as their own controls for each drug condition and studies were carried out under double-blind and "double-dummy" conditions in a controlled, residential research ward. Placebo responding did not vary as a function of history of marijuana use, but the past history of drug use had a significant influence on the reinforcing properties of cannabis compounds as well as the behavioral and physiological effects of these drugs. Regular marijuana users reported a significant increase in elation following marijuana smoking, but this was not associated with a significant increment in pulse rate. Intermittent and occasional marijuana smokers had significant increases in pulse rate, but no significant marijuana-induced elation. Nabilone and delta 9-THC produced a significant increase in pulse rate for all subject groups, but there was no significant increase in elation following ingestion of these compounds. Given a choice between the three drugs and three placebos, 18 of 23 subjects worked to obtain a marijuana cigarette in an operant work choice paradigm. These data indicate that smoked marijuana was significantly more reinforcing than all other cannabis compounds studied, regardless of past drug-use history.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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