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Descriptive Psychopathology of the Acute Effects of Intravenous Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Administration in Humans

1
Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London SE5 8AF, UK
2
Translational Research Center for Gastrointestinal Disorders (TARGID), Department of Chronic Diseases, Metabolism and Ageing, University of Leuven, Leuven 3000, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(4), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9040093
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cannabis: Neuropsychiatry and Its Effects on Brain and Behavior)
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Abstract

Background: Cannabis use can increase the risk of psychosis, and the acute administration of its key psychoactive ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC), can induce transient psychotomimetic symptoms. Methods: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover design was used to investigate the symptomatic effects of acute intravenous administration of ∆9-THC (1.19 mg/2 mL) in 16 healthy participants (seven males) with modest previous cannabis exposure. Results: In the 20 min following acute ∆9-THC administration, symptomatic effects of at least mild severity were present in 94% of the cohort, with moderate to severe symptoms having a much lower prevalence (19%). Nearly one-third (31%) of the volunteers were still experiencing protracted mild symptomatic effects 2.5 h after exposure to ∆9-THC. Compared to the Δ9-THC challenge, most of the study participants did not experience any symptomatic effects following placebo administration (62%). Acute physical reactions were 2.5 times more frequent after Δ9-THC (31%) than placebo (12%). Male and female participants differed in terms of acute Δ9-THC effects, with some negative symptoms occurring more frequently in female (56% to 89%) than male participants (0% to 29%), and acute physical reactions occurring exclusively in the female gender (56%). Conclusions: These results have implications for future research, also in light of cannabis being the most widely used illicit drug. View Full-Text
Keywords: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; placebo; cannabis-associated psychosis; schizophrenia delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; placebo; cannabis-associated psychosis; schizophrenia
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Colizzi, M.; Weltens, N.; McGuire, P.; Van Oudenhove, L.; Bhattacharyya, S. Descriptive Psychopathology of the Acute Effects of Intravenous Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Administration in Humans. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 93.

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