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December 1984

Long-term Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Treatment: Computed Tomography of the Brains of Rhesus Monkeys

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Diagnostic Radiology (Drs McGahan and Dublin) and Psychiatry (Dr Sassenrath), University of California Davis.

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(12):1109-1112. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140500015005

• High-resolution computed tomographic (CT) scanning of the brain was performed on three groups of rhesus monkeys for the detection of ventricular or cisternal enlargement. These three groups comprised four age-matched controls that had no prior drug usage—four monkeys receiving short-term (two to ten months) orally administered delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC [now known nonproprietarily as dronabinol]) and four monkeys receiving long-term (five years) orally administered Δ9-THC. Our results show a statistically significant enlargement of the frontal horns and the bicaudate distance in the long-term group as compared with the control and less significant enlargement of these areas in the long-term group compared with the short-term group. These findings suggest atrophy of the head of the caudate nucleus and the frontal portion of the brain of rhesus monkeys receiving long-term treatment with Δ9-THC.

(AJDC 1984;138:1109-1112)