Date of Award:

2007

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Amy L. Odum

Abstract

The co-abuse of alcohol and marijuana is widespread, although the mechanisms underlying this behavior are unclear. There is some evidence of a relationship between the neural processes that mediate the effects of ethanol and marijuana. For example, research has shown that exposure to marijuana increases responding for, and intake of, ethanol. The alcohol deprivation effect is an anima l model of alcoholism that suggests that the reinforcing efficacy of ethanol, as measured by intake, increases following a period of deprivation. Recent research indicates that rats chronically exposed to marijuana during periods of alcohol deprivation consume ethanol above and beyond deprivation alone. It is unclear, however, whether the marijuana exposure or the repeated deprivations increased motivation to consume ethanol. In the present experiment, rats were trained to self-administer ethanol on a progressive ratio schedule and subjected to two separate periods of deprivation during which either drug or saline was chronically administered for 7 days. Breakpoint (i.e., last ratio completed) was recorded as a measure of the reinforcing efficacy of ethanol. Following deprivations, breakpoint was initially lower than baseline, regardless of whether the drug or saline was administered. Breakpoint recovered to, but did not exceed, baseline levels following both deprivations, indicating a lack of increased reinforcing efficacy of ethanol after repeated deprivation or chronic exposure to marijuana. The lack of an expression of an alcohol deprivation effect following deprivation may have been due to the length and number of deprivations employed. Furthermore, lowered breakpoint recorded following chronic drug administration during deprivation may have been due to the dose administered or stress generated by chronic injections . Further investigation is necessary to separate and clarify the variables responsible for the present results.

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Included in

Psychology Commons

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