Cannabis and alcohol co-use is prevalent in adolescence, but the long-term behavioural effects of this co-use remain largely unexplored. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of adolescent alcohol and Δ9-tetrahydracannabinol (THC) vapour co-exposure on cognitive- and reward-related behaviours. Male Sprague-Dawley rats received vapourized THC (10 mg vapourized THC/four adolescent rats) or vehicle every other day (from post-natal day (PND) 28-42) and had continuous voluntary access to ethanol (10% volume/volume) in adolescence. Alcohol intake was measured during the exposure period to assess the acute effects of THC on alcohol consumption. In adulthood (PND 56+), rats underwent behavioural testing. Adolescent rats showed higher alcohol preference, assessed using the two-bottle choice test, on days on which they were not exposed to THC vapour. In adulthood, rats that drank alcohol as adolescents exhibited short-term memory deficits and showed decreased alcohol preference; on the other hand, rats exposed to THC vapour showed learning impairments in the delay-discounting task. Vapourized THC, alcohol or their combination had no effect on anxiety-like behaviours in adulthood. Our results show that although adolescent THC exposure acutely affects alcohol drinking, adolescent alcohol and cannabis co-use may not produce long-term additive effects.
Keywords: Cannabis; Co-use; Ethanol; Neurodevelopment; Substance use.
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