Chronic Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol treatment in rhesus monkeys: differential tolerance and cross-tolerance among cannabinoids.Br J Pharmacol 2011; 162(5):1060-73BJ
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The extent to which behavioural effects vary as a function of CB₁ receptor agonist efficacy is not clear. These studies tested the hypothesis that cannabinoid tolerance and cross-tolerance depend upon the CB₁ agonist efficacy of drugs to which tolerance/cross-tolerance develops.
Sensitivity to cannabinoids, including the cannabinoid antagonist rimonabant, low efficacy agonist Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ⁹-THC), and high efficacy agonists CP 55940 and WIN 55212-2, was determined before and after chronic Δ⁹-THC treatment in rhesus monkeys. Two measures of behavioural effect were assessed: effects of drugs to decrease fixed ratio responding for food presentation and stimulus-shock termination and discriminative stimulus effects in monkeys discriminating Δ⁹-THC (0.1 mg·kg⁻¹, i.v.).
Δ⁹-THC decreased responding for both food presentation and stimulus-shock termination; these effects were antagonized by the CB₁ antagonist rimonabant. Chronic Δ⁹-THC (1 mg·kg⁻¹ per 12 h, s.c.) resulted in tolerance to the rate-decreasing effects of Δ⁹-THC and cross-tolerance to CP 55940 and WIN 55212-2; however, cross-tolerance was less than tolerance. Chronic Δ⁹-THC increased sensitivity to rimonabant without changing sensitivity to the non-cannabinoids midazolam and ketamine. In monkeys discriminating Δ⁹-THC (0.1 mg·kg⁻¹, i.v.), both CP 55940 and WIN 55212-2 produced high levels of drug-lever responding. Chronic Δ⁹-THC (1 mg·kg⁻¹ per day, s.c.) decreased sensitivity to Δ⁹-THC without producing cross-tolerance to CP 55940 or WIN 55212-2.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
In Δ⁹-THC-treated monkeys, the magnitude of tolerance and cross-tolerance to other CB₁ receptor agonists varied inversely with agonist efficacy, suggesting that CB₁ agonist efficacy is an important determinant of behavioural effects.