Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Matthew Palmatier

Committee Members

Gerald Deehan, Meredith Ginley


Cannabis is widely consumed by humans for pharmacological effects that are mediated by THC, though there is little evidence that THC is a primary reinforcer in non-human animal models. We hypothesized that THC may have potent reinforcement enhancing effects, comparable to other drugs (e.g., nicotine and caffeine) which are also widely consumed by humans, but difficult to establish as primary reinforcers in non-humans. In three experiments with male and female rats saccharin (SACC) or a visual stimulus (VS) served as reinforcers for operant behavior. We explored several pharmacological parameters of THC on responding for SACC or VS, including THC dose, intervals between THC injections and testing, and intervals between test sessions. THC acts as a reinforcement enhancer for both SACC and a VS across a range of doses and intervals. Daily THC injections systematically reduced behavior, possibly due to accumulation of THC bioavailability.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

Available for download on Saturday, June 15, 2024