, Volume 221, Issue 2, pp 239–247 | Cite as

Anxiogenic-like effects of chronic cannabidiol administration in rats

  • Maha M. ElBatsh
  • N. Assareh
  • C. A. Marsden
  • D. A. Kendall
Original Investigation



Several pre-clinical and human-based studies have shown that acutely administered cannabidiol (CBD) can produce anxiolytic-like effects


The present study investigated the effects of chronic administration of CBD on rat behaviour and on the expression of brain proteins.


Male Lister-hooded rats (150–200 g, n = 8 per group) received daily injections of CBD (10 mg/kg, i.p.) for 14 days. The rats were subjected to two behavioural tests: locomotor activity and conditioned emotional response (CER). The expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), its receptor tyrosine kinase B (Trk B), extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) and phospho-ERK1/2 and the transcription factor cyclic AMP response element binding protein activation (CREB) and phospho-CREB were determined in brain regions such as the frontal cortex and hippocampus using Western immunoblotting.


CBD significantly increased the time spent freezing in the CER test with no effect on locomotor activity. CBD significantly reduced BDNF expression in the hippocampus and frontal cortex with no change in the striatum. In addition, CBD significantly reduced TrkB expression in the hippocampus with a strong trend towards reduction in the striatum but had no effect in the frontal cortex. In the hippocampus, CBD had no effect on ERK1/2 or phospho-ERK2, but in the frontal cortex, CBD significantly reduced phospho-ERK1/2 expression without affecting total ERK.


Chronic administration of CBD produced an anxiogenic-like effect in clear opposition to the acute anxiolytic profile previously reported. In addition, CBD decreased the expression of proteins that have been shown to be enhanced by chronic treatment with antidepressant/anxiolytic drugs.


Cannabidiol Anxiety BDNF ERK CREB Hippocampus Cannabinoids 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maha M. ElBatsh
    • 1
    • 2
  • N. Assareh
    • 1
  • C. A. Marsden
    • 1
  • D. A. Kendall
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham Medical SchoolQueen’s Medical CentreNottinghamUK
  2. 2.Clinical Pharmacology Department, Faculty of MedicineMenofia UniversityShebin ElkomEgypt

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