Effects on sleep and dopamine levels of microdialysis perfusion of cannabidiol into the lateral hypothalamus of rats

Life Sci. 2011 Mar 14;88(11-12):504-11. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2011.01.013. Epub 2011 Jan 22.


Aims: The major non-psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa, cannabidiol (CBD), displays a plethora of actions including wakefulness. In the present study, we addressed whether perfusing CBD via microdialysis into lateral hypothalamus (LH) during the lights-on period would modify the sleep-wake cycle of rats as well as the contents of dopamine (DA) collected from nucleus accumbens (AcbC). Additionally, we tested whether perfusion of CBD into LH would block the sleep rebound after a sleep deprivation period.

Main methods: Electroencephalogram and electromyogram electrodes were implanted in rats as well as a guide-cannula aimed to LH or AcbC. CBD perfusion was carried out via cannulae placed into LH whereas contents of DA were collected from AcbC and analyzed using HPLC means.

Key findings: We found that microdialysis perfusion of CBD (30, 60, or 90 nM) into LH of rat enhances alertness and suppresses sleep. This effect was accompanied with an increase in DA extracellular levels collected from the AcbC. Furthermore, perfusion of CBD into LH after total sleep deprivation prevented the sleep rebound.

Significance: These findings enhance the investigation about the neurobiological properties of CBD on sleep modulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol / administration & dosage
  • Cannabidiol / pharmacology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microdialysis
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Perfusion
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Sleep Deprivation / metabolism


  • Cannabidiol
  • Dopamine