The effect of high-dose dronabinol (oral THC) maintenance on cannabis self-administration.Drug Alcohol Depend. 2018 06 01; 187:254-260.DA
There is a clear need for advancing the treatment of cannabis use disorders. Prior research has demonstrated that dronabinol (oral THC) can dose-dependently suppress cannabis withdrawal and reduce the acute effects of smoked cannabis. The present study was conducted to evaluate whether high-dose dronabinol could reduce cannabis self-administration among daily users.
Non-treatment seeking daily cannabis users (N = 13) completed a residential within-subjects crossover study and were administered placebo, low-dose dronabinol (120 mg/day; 40 mg tid), or high-dose dronabinol (180-240 mg/day; 60-80 mg tid) for 12 consecutive days (order counterbalanced). During each 12-day dronabinol maintenance phase, participants were allowed to self-administer smoked cannabis containing <1% THC (placebo) or 5.7% THC (active) under forced-choice (drug vs. money) or progressive ratio conditions.
Participants self-administered significantly more active cannabis compared with placebo in all conditions. When active cannabis was available, self-administration was significantly reduced during periods of dronabinol maintenance compared with placebo maintenance. There was no difference in self-administration between the low- and high-dose dronabinol conditions.
Chronic dronabinol dosing can reduce cannabis self-administration in daily cannabis users and suppress withdrawal symptoms. Cannabinoid agonist medications should continue to be explored for therapeutic utility in the treatment of cannabis use disorders.