Effects of psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabinoids on neuroendocrine and testicular responsiveness in mice

Life Sci. 1985 Apr 1;36(13):1299-306. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(85)90276-0.


Repeated oral administration of the non-psychoactive cannabinol (CBN; 5 or 50 mg/kg) significantly reduced the concentration of norepinephrine (NE) in median eminence and greatly reduced NE levels 1 and 2 hrs after administration of alpha-methylparatyrosine (alpha-MPT). The levels of dopamine (DA) in median eminence were significantly different, as indicated by the differences in slopes obtained in CBN- treated and control mice before and after alpha-MPT. Plasma levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) were significantly reduced in CBN-exposed mice before alpha-MPT, elevated at 1 hr post-injection, but were also reduced 2 hrs post-injection at 50 mg/kg CBN. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels were increased at 1 hr post-alpha-MPT in mice receiving 50 mg/kg CBN. Oral administration of CBN at 50 mg/kg for 4 days enhanced testicular testosterone (T) production in response to intratesticular in vivo injection of 2.5 or 25 mIU human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). A single oral dose of the psychoactive delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) enhanced the production of T 15 min after intratesticular LH (10 ng) injection. However, at 45 or 60 min post-THC treatment, the response to LH was significantly attenuated. These studies demonstrate that both psychoactive and non-psychoactive components of marihuana alter testicular responsiveness to gonadotropins in vivo. These effects may be biphasic, involving stimulation and inhibition of responsiveness, and appear to be correlated with alterations in plasma LH levels. Alterations in plasma gonadotropins may be mediated by cannabinoid effects on catecholamine concentrations in median eminence and THC-induced alterations in testicular responsiveness to gonadotropin probably also involve direct effects of THC at the gonadal level.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology*
  • Cannabinol / pharmacology
  • Catecholamines / metabolism*
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / pharmacology
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Epinephrine / metabolism
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / metabolism
  • Gonadotropins / pharmacology*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Luteinizing Hormone / metabolism
  • Luteinizing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Median Eminence / drug effects
  • Median Eminence / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Testosterone / biosynthesis*


  • Cannabinoids
  • Catecholamines
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Gonadotropins
  • Testosterone
  • Dronabinol
  • Cannabinol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine