Separate and combined effects of gabapentin and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in humans discriminating Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol

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17 Scopus citations


The aim of the present study was to examine a potential mechanism of action of gabapentin to manage cannabisuse disorders by determining the interoceptive effects of gabapentin in cannabis users discriminating Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) using a pharmacologically selective drug-discrimination procedure. Eight cannabis users learned to discriminate 30 mg oral Δ9-THC from placebo and then received gabapentin (600 and 1200 mg), Δ9-THC (5, 15, and 30 mg), and placebo alone and in combination. Self-report, task performance, and physiological measures were also collected. Δ9-THC served as a discriminative stimulus, produced positive subjective effects, elevated heart rate, and impaired psychomotor performance. Both doses of gabapentin substituted for the Δ9-THC discriminative stimulus and engendered subjective and performance-impairing effects that overlapped with those of Δ9-THC when administered alone. When administered concurrently, gabapentin shifted the discriminative-stimulus effects of Δ9-THC leftward/upward, and combinations of Δ9-THC and gabapentin generally produced larger effects on cannabinoid-sensitive outcomes relative to Δ9-THC alone. These results suggest that one mechanism by which gabapentin might facilitate cannabis abstinence is by producing effects that overlap with those of cannabinoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research and the preparation of this manuscript were supported by grants awarded to Dr. Joshua Lile (National Institute on Drug Abuse grants K02 DA031766, R01 DA025605, and R01 DA036550) as well as the University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences grant UL1TR000117).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Cannabis
  • Cardiovascular
  • Digit-symbol-substitution task
  • Drug discrimination
  • Human
  • Marijuana
  • Repeated acquisition task
  • Subjective effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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