Differential effects of delta9-THC on learning in adolescent and adult rats.
Marijuana use remains strikingly high among young users in the U.S., and yet few studies have assessed the effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in adolescents compared to adults. This study measured the effects of THC on male adolescent and adult rats in the Morris water maze. In Experiment 1, adolescent (PD=30-32) and adult (PD=65-70) rats were treated acutely with 5.0 mg/kg THC or vehicle while trained on the spatial version of the water maze on five consecutive days. In Experiment 2, adolescent and adult rats were treated acutely with 2.5 or 10.0 mg/kg THC or vehicle while trained on either the spatial and non-spatial versions of the water maze. In Experiment 3, adolescent and adult rats were treated with 5.0 mg/kg THC or vehicle daily for 21 days, and were trained on the spatial and then the non-spatial versions of the water maze task four weeks later in the absence of THC. THC impaired both spatial and nonspatial learning more in adolescents than in adults at all doses tested. However, there were no long-lasting significant effects on either spatial or non-spatial learning in rats that had been previously exposed to THC for 21 days. This developmental sensitivity is analogous to the effects of ethanol, another commonly used recreational drug.
Cha, YM; White, AM; Kuhn, CM; Wilson, WA; Swartzwelder, HS
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