Amphetamine effects on dopamine levels and behavior following cannabinoid exposure during adolescence

Maria Ellgren, Yasmin L. Hurd, Johan Franck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The cannabis gateway hypothesis purports that early exposure to cannabis is a risk factor for subsequent use of other addictive drugs, e.g., psychostimulants. Neurobiological sensitization, consistent with a gateway hypothesis, was currently studied in regard to amphetamine response. Rats were exposed to the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN 55,212-2 [(R)-(+)-[2,3-dihydro- 5-methyl-3-(4-morpholinylmethyl)pyrrolo[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazin-6-yl] -1-naphthalenylmethanone] 1.25 mg/kg, intraperitoneally; i.p. for 5 days during early adolescence. Amphetamine (0.5 mg/kg, i.p.) or WIN 55,212-2 (1.25 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered in late adolescence and in vivo dopamine levels were simultaneously measured in the nucleus accumbens. Locomotor and stereotyped behaviors were also monitored in rats pretreated with WIN 55,212-2 (0.625, 1.25 or 2.5 mg/kg) or Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (0.75, 1.5 or 3.0 mg/kg, i.p.) for 5 days during early adolescence and challenged with amphetamine (0.5 or 2.0 mg/kg) in late adolescence or as adults. Pretreatment with WIN 55,212-2 or Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol during early adolescence did not alter the dopaminergic or behavioral responses to amphetamine in adolescence or adulthood. In conclusion, these findings do not support the cannabis gateway hypothesis in regard to subsequent amphetamine exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-213
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • (Rat)
  • Cross-sensitization
  • Locomotion
  • Microdialysis
  • Psychostimulants
  • THC
  • in vivo


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