Marijuana and Cholinergic Dynamics

  • D. L. Cheney
  • A. V. Revuelta
  • E. Costa
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 25)


Modification of central cholinergic activity has been suggested to be one of the major actions of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) (4,14). In fact there have been numerous reports implicating an anticholinergic mechanism in the action of these compounds. Moderate doses of Δ9-THC reduce acetylcholine (ACh) release from cat cortex (7) and reduce the rate of ACh depletion after administration of hemicholinium (5). Furthermore, Δ9-THC inhibits ACh biosynthesis in hypothalamic and striatal slices (9). In non-microwaved preparations the effects of Δ9-THC on total brain ACh content that have been reported are inconsistent. Domino (5,6) reports that Δ9-THC elevates total brain ACh content in mice (50 mg/kg i.p.) and rats (10–32 mg/kg), while Ashew et al. (2) report that Δ8 or Δ9-THC reduced rat brain ACh content and rat brain synaptosomal ACh content. The preponderance of evidence, however, is consistent with the hypothesis that THC reduces the utilization of brain ACh.


Cholinergic System GABAergic Interneuron Striatal Slice Stratum Oriens Specific Recognition Site 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. L. Cheney
    • 1
  • A. V. Revuelta
    • 1
  • E. Costa
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Preclinical PharmacologyNational Institute of Mental HealthWashington, D.C.USA

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