Cannabidiol attenuates deficits of visuospatial associative memory induced by D9tetrahydrocannabinol, M. Jerry Wright Jr et al., 2013

Cannabidiol attenuates deficits of visuospatial associative memory induced by D9tetrahydrocannabinol

M. Jerry Wright Jr, Sophia A. Vandewater and Michael A. Taffe

Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla,

British Journal of Pharmacology, 2013, 170, 1365–1373


Recent human studies suggest that recreational cannabis strains that are relatively high in cannabidiol (CBD) content produce less cognitive impairment than do strains with negligible CBD and similar D9tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Self-selection in such studies means it is impossible to rule out additional variables which may determine both cannabis strain selection and basal cognitive performance level. Controlled laboratory studies can better determine a direct relationship.

In this study, adult male rhesus monkeys were assessed on visuospatial Paired Associates Learning and Self-Ordered Spatial Search memory tasks, as well as additional tests of motivation and manual dexterity. Subjects were challenged with THC (0.2, 0.5 mg·kg-1, i.m.) in randomized order and evaluated in the presence or absence of 0.5 mg·kg-1 CBD.

CBD attenuated the effects of THC on paired associates learning and a bimanual motor task without affecting the detrimental effects of THC on a Self-Ordered Spatial Search task of working memory. CBD did not significantly reverse THC-induced impairment of a progressive ratio or a rotating turntable task.

This study provides direct evidence that CBD can oppose the cognitive-impairing effects of THC and that it does so in a task-selective manner when administered simultaneously in a 1:1 ratio with THC. The addition of CBD to THC-containing therapeutic products may therefore help to ameliorate unwanted cognitive side-effects.

This article is commented on by Mechoulam and Parker, pp 1363–1364 of this issue. To view this commentary visit

Keywords : cannabis; marijuana; Macaca mulatta; working memory