Activation of 5-HT1A receptors in the dorsal periaqueductal gray (dPAG) impairs escape behavior, suggesting a panicolytic-like effect. Cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychotomimetic compound present in Cannabis sativa, causes anxiolytic-like effects after intra-dPAG microinjections by activating 5-HT1A receptors. In the present work we tested the hypothesis that CBD could also impair escape responses evoked by two proposed animal models of panic: the elevated T-maze (ETM) and electric stimulation of dPAG. In experiment 1 male Wistar rats with a single cannula implanted in the dPAG received a microinjection of CBD or vehicle and, 10 min later, were submitted to the ETM and open field tests. In experiment 2 escape electrical threshold was measured in rats with chemitrodes implanted in the dPAG before and 10 min after CBD microinjection. In experiment 3 similar to experiment 2 except that the animals received a previous intra-dPAG administration of WAY-100635, a 5-HT1A receptor antagonist, before CBD treatment. In the ETM microinjection of CBD into the dPAG impaired inhibitory avoidance acquisition, an anxiolytic-like effect, and inhibited escape response, a panicolytic-like effect. The drug also increased escape electrical threshold, an effect that was prevented by WAY-100635. Together, the results suggest that CBD causes panicolytic effects in the dPAG by activating 5-HT1A receptors.
Neuroscience and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, Campus USP, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. firstname.lastname@example.org, , , ,