Residual effects of chronic cannabis treatment on behavior in mature rats.
Mature rats (starting weight at least 270 g) were treated daily with cannabis extract (daily THC dose 20 mg/kg) for 3 months. After a 1- to 4-month drug-free period, residual effects on a variety of behaviors were studied. No residual effects were found in learning of an eight-arm radial maze task, nor on a differential reinforcement of low-rate responding (DRL-20) task, nor on open field activity. On the other hand, two-way shuttle box avoidance learning was facilitated by previous cannabis treatment, since cannabis-treated rats exhibited shorter mean latencies to avoid footshock than vehicle controls. The findings indicate greater vulnerability of immature organisms (previous studies) than mature organisms (the present study) to long-term effects of chronic cannabis administration.