Cannabis & Animal Sexuality

A rat looks out of a hear-shaped hole in a pink background.

A recent article from Uruguayan scientists examined how cannabis affects sexual behavior in female rats. Similar to surveys and anecdotal reports of humans, the researchers found that a low dose of cannabis increased some mating behaviors, a high dose reduced them, and any dose increased sensitivity to pleasurable touch. The most interesting  aspect of the article is its methods. Most scientists approach female research by taking out the animal’s ovaries – essentially inducing menopause – then treating them with hormones to mimic a certain phase of that species’ menstrual cycle. The idea is to avoid the “inconsistency” of an animal’s cycle. But by eliminating hormone production, the experiment may lose much of its relevance. The Uruguayan researchers stand out by avoiding this pitfall and additionally treating the rats with vaporized cannabis, rather than an injection of THC.

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Adrian Devitt-Lee, Project CBD's chief science writer, is pursuing his PhD in Mathematics at the University College of London.