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Can recreational doses of THC produce significant dopamine release in the human striatum?

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Cannabis use in early adolescence may be a risk factor for development of schizophrenia. In animals, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) increases the rate of dopamine neuronal firing and release in the striatum. Thus cannabis use may increase dopamine release in the human striatum leading to vulnerability to psychosis.

AIMS

To investigate whether THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, can produce dopamine release in the human striatum.

METHODS

Thirteen healthy volunteers, with previous cannabis experience, underwent two [11C]-raclopride positron emission tomography (PET) scans to indirectly measure striatal dopamine levels following either 10 mg THC or placebo.

RESULTS

Although THC markedly increased psychosis-like symptoms on the Psychotomimetic States Inventory (PSI), there was no significant effect of THC on [11C]-raclopride binding.

CONCLUSION

In the largest study of its kind so far, we have shown that recreational cannabis users do not release significant amounts of dopamine from an oral THC dose equivalent to a standard cannabis cigarette. This result challenges current models of striatal dopamine release as the mechanism mediating cannabis as risk factor for schizophrenia.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Psychiatry Group, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, London, UK. paul.stokes@imperial.ac.uk

    , , ,

    Source

    NeuroImage 48:1 2009 Oct 15 pg 186-90

    MeSH

    Adult
    Analysis of Variance
    Corpus Striatum
    Dopamine
    Dronabinol
    Female
    Humans
    Male
    Positron-Emission Tomography
    Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
    Psychotropic Drugs
    Raclopride

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    19539765

    Citation

    TY - JOUR T1 - Can recreational doses of THC produce significant dopamine release in the human striatum? AU - Stokes,Paul R A, AU - Mehta,Mitul A, AU - Curran,H Valerie, AU - Breen,Gerome, AU - Grasby,Paul M, Y1 - 2009/06/17/ PY - 2009/05/06/received PY - 2009/06/10/revised PY - 2009/06/12/accepted PY - 2009/6/23/entrez PY - 2009/6/23/pubmed PY - 2009/10/27/medline SP - 186 EP - 90 JF - NeuroImage JO - Neuroimage VL - 48 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: Cannabis use in early adolescence may be a risk factor for development of schizophrenia. In animals, Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) increases the rate of dopamine neuronal firing and release in the striatum. Thus cannabis use may increase dopamine release in the human striatum leading to vulnerability to psychosis. AIMS: To investigate whether THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, can produce dopamine release in the human striatum. METHODS: Thirteen healthy volunteers, with previous cannabis experience, underwent two [11C]-raclopride positron emission tomography (PET) scans to indirectly measure striatal dopamine levels following either 10 mg THC or placebo. RESULTS: Although THC markedly increased psychosis-like symptoms on the Psychotomimetic States Inventory (PSI), there was no significant effect of THC on [11C]-raclopride binding. CONCLUSION: In the largest study of its kind so far, we have shown that recreational cannabis users do not release significant amounts of dopamine from an oral THC dose equivalent to a standard cannabis cigarette. This result challenges current models of striatal dopamine release as the mechanism mediating cannabis as risk factor for schizophrenia. SN - 1095-9572 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19539765/full_citation/Can_recreational_doses_of_THC_produce_significant_dopamine_release_in_the_human_striatum L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1053-8119(09)00664-8 ER -