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The Effects of Acute Δ⁹-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Striatal Glutamatergic Function: A Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study

Bloomfield, MAP; Petrilli, K; Lees, R; Hindocha, C; Beck, K; Turner, RJ; Onwordi, EC; ... Freeman, TP; + view all (2021) The Effects of Acute Δ⁹-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Striatal Glutamatergic Function: A Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimagin , 6 (6) pp. 660-667. 10.1016/j.bpsc.2021.04.013. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Cannabis and its main psychoactive component, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can elicit transient psychotic symptoms. A key candidate biological mechanism of how THC induces psychotic symptoms is the modulation of glutamate in the brain. We sought to investigate the effects of acute THC administration on striatal glutamate levels and its relationship to the induction of psychotic symptoms. Methods: We used proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure glutamate levels in the striatum in 20 healthy participants after THC (15 mg, oral) and matched placebo administration in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design. Psychotic symptoms were measured using the Psychotomimetic States Inventory. Results: We found that THC administration did not significantly change glutamate (glutamate plus glutamine relative to creatine) concentration in the striatum (p = .58; scaled Jeffreys-Zellner-Siow Bayes factor = 4.29). THC increased psychotic symptoms, but the severity of these symptoms was not correlated with striatal glutamate levels. Conclusions: These findings suggest that oral administration of 15 mg of THC does not result in altered striatal glutamate levels. Further work is needed to clarify the effects of THC on striatal glutamate.

Type: Article
Title: The Effects of Acute Δ⁹-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Striatal Glutamatergic Function: A Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.bpsc.2021.04.013
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2021.04.013
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cannabis, Glutamate, MRS, Psychosis, Striatum, Tetrahydrocannabinol
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133952
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