Effects of psychoactive and nonpsychoactive cannabinoids on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis of the adult male rat

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1990 Oct;37(2):299-302. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(90)90338-i.


The acute dose-response effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD) on gonadotropin and testosterone (T) secretion and on hypothalamic norepinephrine (NE) metabolism were tested in adult male rats. THC and CBN both produced an acute suppression of plasma-luteinizing hormone (LH) and T levels and median eminence NE turnover although a dose-response relationship could not be demonstrated. CBD had no significant effect on any of these parameters and none of these cannabinoids had any effect on plasma follicle-stimulating hormone levels or median eminence LH-releasing hormone (LHRH) content. Except for the highest dose of CBN, none of the in vivo cannabinoid treatments significantly altered in vitro LH secretion although there was a trend towards decreased LH secretion. These results suggest that the decrease in LH secretion in THC- or CBN-treated rats is due to reductions in NE stimulation of LHRH release rather than to changes in LHRH synthesis or pituitary LHRH response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology*
  • Cannabinol / pharmacology*
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Cannabidiol
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Testosterone
  • Dronabinol
  • Cannabinol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Norepinephrine