Effects of cannabinoids (marijuana) on taste intensity and hedonic ratings and salivary flow of adults

Chem Senses. 1994 Apr;19(2):125-40. doi: 10.1093/chemse/19.2.125.


Cannabinoids purportedly improve taste responsiveness and enhance the sensory appeal of foods. These properties and a commonly cited oral drying effect were evaluated in a series of studies with 'light' marijuana users. The first was a double-blind, placebo-controlled, acute oral dosing trial, involving an age and gender stratified sample of 57 adults. An influence of route of drug delivery was explored in another 11 individuals who were administered a single dose orally, sublingually and via cigarette. To explore effects following chronic administration, six additional individuals were dosed twice per day for 3 days orally and by rectal suppository. Taste intensity and hedonic responses for sweet, sour, salty and bitter food stimuli were monitored at baseline, 2, 4 and 6 hours post-dosing in the acute studies, and daily in the chronic study. Stimulated saliva samples were collected at these same times. Salivary flow rate was significantly negatively correlated with plasma drug levels, and reported 'high' 2 and 4 h post-dosing. No effects of the drug were observed on taste responses. Self-reported shifts in taste responsiveness and hedonics may be related to alterations of memory and cognition, rather than gustatory function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Administration, Oral
  • Administration, Sublingual
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Dronabinol / administration & dosage
  • Dronabinol / pharmacokinetics
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Salivation / drug effects*
  • Suppositories
  • Taste / drug effects*


  • Suppositories
  • Dronabinol