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The psychoactive ingredient of marijuana induces behavioural sensitization
by Rubino T, Vigano D, Massi P, Parolaro D.


Here we describe, for the first time, the occurrence of behavioural sensitization after chronic exposure to Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Rats were treated twice a day, for five days, with increasing doses (5, 10, 20, 40, 40 mg/kg i.p.) of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol or its vehicle and after 20 days of withdrawal, animals were challenged with 5 mg/kg (i.p.) of the drug and their behaviour was assessed. Contrary to the motor inhibition induced in control rats, challenge with Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in pre-exposed animals elicited a complex behavioural syndrome mainly characterized by oral stereotyped items. Due to the relevance of behavioural sensitization in drug-seeking behaviour that persists long after discontinuation of drug use, our findings suggest that cannabinoids could trigger neurobiological alteration not dissimilar from those observed with more harmful abused drugs.

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