CB1 receptor antagonist precipitates withdrawal in mice exposed to Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol.J Pharmacol Exp Ther 1998; 285(3):1150-6JP
Although tolerance to cannabinoids has been well established, the question of cannabinoid dependence had been very controversial until the discovery of a cannabinoid antagonist, SR141716A. The objective of this study was to develop and characterize a mouse model of precipitated withdrawal indicative of cannabinoid dependence. Using a dosing regimen known to produce pharmacological and behavioral tolerance, mice were treated with Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta9-THC) twice a day for 1 wk. SR141716A administration after the last Delta9-THC injection promptly precipitated a profound withdrawal syndrome. Typical withdrawal behavior was an increase in paw tremors and head shakes that was accompanied with a decrease in normal behavior such as grooming and scratching. Of the three Delta9-THC regimens tested, daily Delta9-THC injections of 10 and 30 mg/kg produced the greatest number of paw tremors and head shakes and the least number of grooms after challenge with SR141716A. Precipitated withdrawal was apparent after 2, 3, 7 and 14 days of treatment based on an increase in paw tremors in Delta9-THC-treated mice as compared with vehicle-treated mice. These findings are consistent with SR141716A-precipitated withdrawal in rats. Moreover, these results suggest that mice are a viable model for investigating dependence to cannabinoids.