Psychopharmacology

, Volume 181, Issue 2, pp 237–243

Reinforcing effects of oral Δ9-THC in male marijuana smokers in a laboratory choice procedure

  • Carl L. Hart
  • Margaret Haney
  • Suzanne K. Vosburg
  • Sandra D. Comer
  • Richard W. Foltin
Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-005-2234-2

Cite this article as:
Hart, C.L., Haney, M., Vosburg, S.K. et al. Psychopharmacology (2005) 181: 237. doi:10.1007/s00213-005-2234-2

Abstract

Rationale

Oral Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC; Marinol) is medically available for the treatment of nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and for wasting syndromes related to HIV/AIDS. Little is known about its reinforcing effects.

Objective

This study was conducted to characterize the reinforcing effects of oral Δ9-THC in experienced marijuana smokers under controlled laboratory conditions.

Methods

Ten healthy male marijuana users completed this 17-day residential study. On days 2, 6, 10, and 14, at 0900 h, participants received a “sample” oral dose of Δ9-THC (0, 10, 20 mg) and an alternative reinforcer, a $2 voucher (redeemable for cash at study’s end). Over the next 3 days, they had 11 opportunities to self-administer either the sampled dose of Δ9-THC or to receive a $2 voucher.

Results

Participants chose active Δ9-THC (10 and 20 mg) more often than placebo (<two selections vs ∼four selections, respectively). However, they chose active Δ9-THC on less than 50% of choice opportunities. Both active Δ9-THC doses produced significant increases in “positive” subjective effects, impaired psychomotor performance, and increased heart rate, relative to the placebo conditions.

Conclusion

These data indicate that oral Δ9-THC may have modest abuse liability in experienced marijuana smokers.

Keywords

Cannabis Marinol Human Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol Self-administration Choice Subjective effects Performance 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl L. Hart
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Margaret Haney
    • 1
  • Suzanne K. Vosburg
    • 1
  • Sandra D. Comer
    • 1
  • Richard W. Foltin
    • 1
  1. 1.Division on Substance Abuse, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Department of Psychiatry, College of PhysiciansSurgeons of Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA

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