Behavioral Effects of Vaporized Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol, Cannabidiol, and Mixtures in Male Rats

Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2024 Apr;9(2):601-611. doi: 10.1089/can.2022.0257. Epub 2023 Feb 21.


Background: The popularity of delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) products has seen a sharp increase in use during recent years. Despite the rise in use of these minor cannabinoids, there are little to no pre-clinical behavioral data on their effects, with most pre-clinical cannabis research focusing on the behavioral effects of delta-9 THC. The current experiments aimed to characterize the behavioral effects of delta-8 THC, CBD, and mixtures of these two drugs using a whole-body vapor exposure route of administration in male rats. Methods: Rats were exposed to vapor that contained different concentrations of delta-8 THC, CBD, or CBD/delta-8 THC mixtures during 10 min of exposure. Following 10 min of vapor exposure, locomotor behavior was monitored, or the warm-water tail withdrawal assay was conducted to measure the acute analgesic effects of the vapor exposure. Results: CBD and CBD/delta-8 THC mixtures resulted in a significant increase in locomotion across the entire session. Although delta-8 THC alone had no significant effect on locomotion across the session, the 10 mg concentration of delta-8 THC had a hyperlocomotion effect in the first 30 min of the session followed by a hypolocomotor effect later in the session. In the tail withdrawal assay, a 3/1 mixture of CBD/delta-8 THC resulted in an immediate analgesic effect compared to vehicle vapor. Finally, immediately following vapor exposure, all drugs had a hypothermic effect on body temperature compared to vehicle. Conclusion: This experiment is the first to characterize the behavioral effects of vaporized delta-8 THC, CBD, and CBD/delta-8 THC in male rats. While data were generally congruent with previous research investigating delta-9 THC, future studies should explore abuse liability and validate plasma blood concentrations of these drugs following administration through whole-body vapor exposure.

Keywords: behavior; cannabidiol; cannabinoids; delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); rat; vapor administration.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics
  • Animals
  • Cannabidiol* / pharmacology
  • Cannabinoids* / pharmacology
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Hallucinogens* / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Rats


  • Cannabidiol
  • Dronabinol
  • Cannabinoids
  • Hallucinogens
  • Analgesics