Long-term voluntary consumption of MDMA and THC in rats is modified by individual and situational factors.Addict Biol 2006; 11(2):131-44AB
Factors influencing long-term voluntary intake of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; ecstasy) and Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; cannabis) were studied in a rat model. Sixty-four male Wistar rats were given free choice for 49 weeks between (1) water and MDMA solution, (2) water and THC solution or (3) water, MDMA solution and THC solution. After the first experiences with the drugs, animals of both monodrug and polydrug group developed an individually stable pattern of MDMA consumption, whereas the individual predictability of THC consumption remained poor. While THC consumption was maintained for the whole experimental period, MDMA consumption decreased with time and was nearly ceased after 3-7 months. Intake of both drugs was adapted to social changes, with THC consumption being more sensitive to social changes than MDMA consumption. In the re-test after 4 months of abstinence, all animals ceased drug consumption when the drug solutions were adulterated with bitter tasting quinine. The results show that the rats had maintained a flexible mode of drug consumption and had not become addicted. Response to novelty of the rats in test trials before the start of drug supply correlated with later MDMA intake. In conclusion, although very low amounts of MDMA and/or THC were consumed, the findings that drug-experienced animals responded differentially to a stressor and that housing conditions influenced drug intake suggests that MDMA and THC can induce psychopharmacological effects in our long-term voluntary consumption paradigm.