Introduction:Cannabis sativa L. (C. sativa) is used since ancient times to produce fabrics, baskets, and cords. Later, different ethnic groups used to burn the leaves and flowers of psychotropic cultivars with high Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (D9-THC) levels, during the religious or propitiatory rites to alter the state of consciousness. To date, it is not known whether also nonpsychotropic cultivars of C. sativa were used during these rites, and whether these varieties could have an effect on human behavior. This study aimed to evaluate the behavioral effects of an extract of nonpsychotropic C. sativa (NP-CS) in mice. Materials and Methods: An extract of a nonpsychotropic cultivar of C. sativa dissolved in medium-chain triglyceride oil was used and the different phytochemical components were evaluated. The relative composition in terms of phytocannabinoid content was assessed by reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to UV detection (RP-HPLC-UV), and the volatile components were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In addition, the behavioral effect of NP-CS was assessed on a wild-type mouse model. The animals were treated for 14 days (oral gavage) and motility, anxiety, and social effects were assessed. Results: RP-HPLC-UV analysis demonstrated that D9-THC was present in lower concentration with respect to other cannabinoids, like cannabidiol. Furthermore, the GC-MS analysis revealed the presence of several terpenoids. Concerning in vivo studies, chronic treatment with NP-CS did not alter body weight, motility, and anxiety and increased social interaction. Conclusions: This study highlighted the prosocial effects of NP-CS.
Keywords: Cannabis sativa; behavior; cannabidiol; sociability; Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol.