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Aceto MD. Scates SM. Razdan RK. Martin BR.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.

Anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid, has a very low physical dependence potential.

Journal of Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics. 287(2):598-605, 1998 Nov.

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Using N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2, 4-dichloro-phenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide. HCl (SR 141716A), a cannabinoid antagonist, several investigators (deFonseca et al., 1997; Aceto et al., 1995, 1996; Tsou et al., 1995) demonstrated physical dependence on THC [Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol]. This demonstration prompted us to determine whether anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid agonist, would also produce physical dependence. A low-dose regimen (10, 20, 40 and 40) or a high-dose regimen (25, 50, 100 and 100) expressed as mg/kg/24 hr was infused i.p. on a continuous basis, from days 1 through 4, respectively. During the infusion, especially at the high-dose regimen, the rats became immobile and developed eyelid ptosis. Abrupt discontinuation of anandamide did not elicit rebound behavioral activity. Neither arachidonic acid, a precursor and metabolite of anandamide (50, 100, 200 and 200 mg/kg/24 hr on days 1 through 4, respectively), nor 2-Me-F-AN [2-methylarachidonyl-(2'-fluoroethyl)-amide], a metabolically stable analog of anandamide (5, 10, 20 and 20 mg/kg/24 hr for 4 days, respectively), had remarkable effects. Notably, groups pretreated with anandamide or 2-Me-F-AN and challenged with SR 141716A did not show significantly elevated behavioral scores when compared with SR 141716A controls. On the other hand, nearly all groups receiving SR 141716A showed significant activation of these behaviors compared with vehicle controls, which suggests that this cannabinoid antagonist itself was activating behavior. We concluded that anandamide has little if any capacity for physical dependence. The finding that SR 141716A activated behavior supports the hypothesis that the cannabimimetic system exerts a depressant effect in the CNS.

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