In this study we have assessed the effect of the intracerebroventricular administration of anandamide (ANA) as well as its precursor metabolite arachidonic acid (AA), on the sleep-wakefulness cycle, memory formation, locomotor activity and pain perception. Our results have indicated that ANA strikingly increases slow-wave sleep (SWS)2 and rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep at the expense of wakefulness (W); while deteriorating memory consolidation. ANA also increases locomotor activity but does not modify pain perception threshold. In contrast, AA increases W and reduces SWS2, while deteriorating memory consolidation and increasing locomotor activity. AA has no effect on pain perception. These results suggest that the brain cannabinoid system participates in the modulation of the vigilance states and mnemonic processes. Additionally, they suggest that the effect on pain perception may be a peripheral rather than a central effect.
Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.