Explication of CB 1 receptor contributions to the hypothermic effects of Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) when delivered by vapor inhalation or parenteral injection in rats

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2020 Sep 1;214:108166. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108166. Epub 2020 Jul 16.


The use of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by inhalation using e-cigarette technology grows increasingly popular for medical and recreational purposes. This has led to development of e-cigarette based techniques to study the delivery of THC by inhalation in laboratory rodents. Inhaled THC reliably produces hypothermic and antinociceptive effects in rats, similar to effects of parenteral injection of THC. This study was conducted to determine the extent to which the hypothermic response depends on interactions with the CB1 receptor, using pharmacological antagonist (SR141716, AM-251) approaches. Groups of rats were implanted with radiotelemetry devices capable of reporting activity and body temperature, which were assessed after THC inhalation or injection. SR141716 (4 mg/kg, i.p.) blocked or attenuated antinociceptive effects of acute THC inhalation in male and female rats. SR141716 was unable to block the initial hypothermia caused by THC inhalation, but temperature was restored to normal more quickly. Alterations in antagonist pre-treatment time, dose and the use of a rat strain with less sensitivity to THC-induced hypothermia did not change this pattern. Pre-treatment with SR141716 (4 mg/kg, i.p.) blocked hypothermia induced by i.v. THC and reversed hypothermia when administered 45 or 90 min after THC (i.p.). SR141716 and AM-251 (4 mg/kg, i.p.) sped recovery from, but did not block, hypothermia caused by vapor THC in female rats made tolerant by prior repeated THC vapor inhalation. The CB2 antagonist AM-630, had no effect. These results suggest that hypothermia consequent to THC inhalation is induced by other mechanisms in addition to CB1 receptor activation.

Keywords: Cannabis; Hypothermia; Marijuana; Nociception; Vape; e-cigarette.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Dronabinol / administration & dosage
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Hypothermia / chemically induced*
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1 / metabolism*
  • Rimonabant / pharmacology


  • Receptor, Cannabinoid, CB1
  • Dronabinol
  • Rimonabant