Effects of cannabis and tobacco on the enzymes of alcohol metabolism in the rat

Rev Environ Health. 1991;9(1):31-7. doi: 10.1515/reveh.1991.9.1.31.


The effects of cannabis and tobacco on the enzymes of ethanol metabolism were studied in the Wistar rat. The activities of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (AlDH) were measured in the liver and the brain, after treatment with an extract of cannabis resin, with an extract of tobacco leaves, or with nicotine. A condensate of cannabis resin extract was collected in a smoking machine, using a tobacco cigarette as the vehicle. Unsmoked or smoked cannabis extracts were dissolved in olive oil and were given i.p. (twice daily, for 7 days). In both cases, a similar dose level was used in terms of starting material (raw cannabis resin), estimated at about 100 mg/kg body weight. Control animals were treated either with olive oil, or with the same amount of smoked condensate obtained from a reference cigarette. Nicotine was dissolved in olive oil and it was given i.p. (10 micrograms/kg, twice daily for 7 days). An extract of unsmoked tobacco was dissolved in olive oil and was given with the same schedule, at a dose which was estimated to correspond to about 10 micrograms nicotine/kg b.w. All groups of animals received an additional i.p. injection on day 8, one hour before sacrifice. Our results showed that unsmoked cannabis inhibited the hepatic activities of the microchondrial AlDH (low-Km and high-Km), the hepatic low-Km cytosolic AlDH (p less than 0.001), and the low-Km mitochondrial AlDH of the brain (p less than 0.001). Administration of smoked cannabis to the animals inhibited the hepatic mitochondrial low-Km AlDH (p less than 0.001), but it did not influence the brain enzymes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / drug effects*
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / drug effects*
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / toxicity*
  • Ethanol / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Smoking / adverse effects*


  • Cannabinoids
  • Ethanol
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Aldehyde Dehydrogenase