Role of cannabinoid receptors in memory storage

Neurobiol Dis. 1998 Dec;5(6 Pt B):474-82. doi: 10.1006/nbdi.1998.0223.


Studies have shown that delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, produces memory deficits similar to those produced by neurochemical lesions of the hippocampus. Such lesions impair performance in short-term spatial memory tasks learned prior to the lesion. Animals trained in the behavioral task following the lesion can still perform the task, but learn a different behavioral strategy. Cannabinoid agonists impair behavioral performance in a delay-dependent manner similar to that produced by lesions, but also shift the behavioral response strategy. A possible role for cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoids may thus be to regulate the storage (i.e., encoding) of information, as well as the means by which that information is retrieved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cannabinoids / metabolism*
  • Cannabinoids / pharmacology
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug / physiology*


  • Cannabinoids
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Receptors, Drug
  • Dronabinol