Cannabinoids, hippocampal function and memory

Life Sci. 1999;65(6-7):715-23. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(99)00294-5.


Prior studies from this laboratory have shown that the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), interferes with short-term memory (1-3) in both delayed match and nonmatch to sample tasks (DMS/DNMS). Recent experiments have shown that other cannabinoids such as the potent CB1 receptor agonist, WIN 55,212-2 produces a delay-dependent deficit in the DNMS task at a dose range (0.10-0.50 mg/kg) well below that of delta9-THC which was blocked by the CB11 receptor antagonist SR141716A (Sanofi Inc). The effects of WIN 55,212-2 at low doses were similar to those of isolated lesions of the hippocampus, whereas high doses (0.50 mg/kg, i.p.) produced effects similar to lesions of both hippocampus and surrounding retrohippocampal areas. The low dose effect was delay-dependent while the high dose introduced an additional deficit at short delays that was sensitive to both SR141716A and the GABA(B) receptor antagonist, phaclofen. Comparison of lesion vs. cannabinoid effects on DNMS performance suggests that CB1 receptors on hippocampal neurons interfere with the processing of DNMS task-specific information within a trial. CB1 receptors on hippocampal GABAergic interneurons and in retrohippocampal areas appear to influence the ability to maintain segregation of information between trials in the task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzoxazines
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • Naphthalenes / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / physiology


  • Benzoxazines
  • Cannabinoids
  • Morpholines
  • Naphthalenes
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug
  • (3R)-((2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-((4-morpholinyl)methyl)pyrrolo-(1,2,3-de)-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl)(1-naphthalenyl))methanone