Neuropsychopharmacology. 2022 Apr 27. doi: 10.1038/s41386-022-01326-0. Online ahead of print.
Withdrawal symptoms are observed upon cessation of cannabis use in humans. Although animal studies have examined withdrawal symptoms following exposure to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), difficulties in obtaining objective measures of spontaneous withdrawal using paradigms that mimic cessation of use in humans have slowed research. The neuromodulator dopamine (DA) is affected by chronic THC treatment and plays a role in many behaviors related to human THC withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include sleep disturbances that often drive relapse, and emotional behaviors like irritability and anhedonia. We examined THC withdrawal-induced changes in striatal DA release and the extent to which sleep disruption and behavioral maladaptation manifest during abstinence in a mouse model of chronic THC exposure. Using a THC treatment regimen known to produce tolerance, we measured electrically elicited DA release in acute brain slices from different striatal subregions during early and late THC abstinence. Long-term polysomnographic recordings from mice were used to assess vigilance state and sleep architecture before, during, and after THC treatment. We additionally assessed how behaviors that model human withdrawal symptoms are altered by chronic THC treatment in early and late abstinence. We detected altered striatal DA release, sleep disturbances that mimic clinical observations, and behavioral maladaptation in mice following tolerance to THC. Altered striatal DA release, sleep, and affect-related behaviors associated with spontaneous THC abstinence were more consistently observed in male mice. These findings provide a foundation for preclinical study of directly translatable non-precipitated THC withdrawal symptoms and the neural mechanisms that affect them.
Source: ncbi 2