Facilitation of brain stimulation reward by delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1988;96(1):142-4. doi: 10.1007/BF02431546.


The present experiment explored whether delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta 9-THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, shares with other drugs of abuse the ability to facilitate brain stimulation reward acutely, as measured by electrical intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). Laboratory rats were implanted with stimulation electrodes in the medial forebrain bundle, and trained to stable performance on a self-titrating threshold ICSS paradigm. delta 9-THC, at a dose believed pharmacologically relevant to moderate human use of marijuana, acutely lowered ICSS thresholds, suggesting that marijuana acts on similar CNS hedonic systems to most other drugs of abuse.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Male
  • Medial Forebrain Bundle / physiology
  • Povidone / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Reward*
  • Self Stimulation


  • Dronabinol
  • Povidone