Publication Details

Osborne, A. L., Solowij, N., Babic, I., Huang, X. & Weston-Green, K. (2017). Improved social interaction, recognition and working memory with cannabidiol treatment in a prenatal infection (poly I:C) rat model. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42 1447-1457.


Neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia are associated with cognitive impairment, including learning, memory and attention deficits. Antipsychotic drugs are limited in their efficacy to improve cognition; therefore, new therapeutic agents are required. Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating component of cannabis, has anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and antipsychotic-like properties; however, its ability to improve the cognitive deficits of schizophrenia remains unclear. Using a prenatal infection model, we examined the effect of chronic CBD treatment on cognition and social interaction. Time-mated pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats (n=16) were administered polyinosinic-polycytidilic acid (poly I:C) (POLY; 4 mg/kg) or saline (CONT) at gestation day 15. Male offspring (PN56) were injected twice daily with 10 mg/kg CBD (CONT+CBD, POLY+CBD; n=12 per group) or vehicle (VEH; CONT+VEH, POLY+VEH; n=12 per group) for 3 weeks. Body weight, food and water intake was measured weekly. The Novel Object Recognition and rewarded T-maze alternation tests assessed recognition and working memory, respectively, and the social interaction test assessed sociability. POLY+VEH offspring exhibited impaired recognition and working memory, and reduced social interaction compared to CONT+VEH offspring (pvsPOLY +VEH), did not affect total body weight gain, food or water intake, and had no effect in control animals (all p>0.05). In conclusion, chronic CBD administration can attenuate the social interaction and cognitive deficits induced by prenatal poly I:C infection. These novel findings present interesting implications for potential use of CBD in treating the cognitive deficits and social withdrawal of schizophrenia.

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