J Vis Exp. 2021 Dec 29;(178). doi: 10.3791/63228.
With increased attention on cannabinoids in medicine, several mammalian model organisms have been used to elucidate their unknown pharmaceutical functions. However, many difficulties remain in mammalian research, which necessitates the development of non-mammalian model organisms for cannabinoid research. The authors suggest the tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta as a novel insect model system. This protocol provides information on preparing the artificial diet with varying amounts of cannabidiol (CBD), setting up a cultivation environment, and monitoring their physiological and behavioral changes in response to CBD treatment. Briefly, upon receiving hornworm eggs, the eggs were allowed 1-3 days at 25 °C on a 12:12 light-dark cycle to hatch before being randomly distributed into control (wheat germ-based artificial diet; AD), vehicle (AD + 0.1% medium-chain triglyceride oil; MCT oil) and treatment groups (AD + 0.1% MCT + 1 mM or 2 mM of CBD). Once the media was prepared, 1st instar larvae were individually placed in a 50 mL test tube with a wooden skewer stick, and then the test tube was covered with a cheesecloth. Measurements were taken in 2-day intervals for physiological and behavioral responses to the CBD administration. This simple cultivation procedure allows researchers to test large specimens in a given experiment. Additionally, the relatively short life cycles enable researchers to study the impact of cannabinoid treatments over multiple generations of a homogenous population, allowing for data to support an experimental design in higher mammalian model organisms.