Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Ethanol: Differential Effects on Sympathetic Activity in Differing Environmental Setting

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Science  29 Jun 1973:
Vol. 180, Issue 4093, pp. 1368-1369
DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4093.1368


Serum dopamine β-hydroxylase activity, a useful biochemical index of peripheral sympathetic nervous activity, was measured in rats treated with Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol or ethanol or both substances. After 7 days of treatment with either substance, serum dopamine β-hydroxylase activity decreased significantly. Combined treatment with both agents enhanced the effects of each given alone. In rats subjected to immobilization stress, treatment with Δ9- tetrahydrocannabinol appeared to potentiate the stress-induced increase in serum enzyme activity. Treatment with ethanol, with or without Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, effectively blocked this increase in enzyme activity. These results show that both substances have significant effects on the sympathetic nervous system which are critically influenced by environmental setting.