Discriminative stimulus and subjective effects of smoked marijuana in humans

L. D. Chait, S. M. Evans, K. A. Grant, J. B. Kamien, C. E. Johanson, C. R. Schuster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The discriminative stimulus (DS) effects of smoked marijuana were studied by training marijuana smokers to discriminate between the effects of marijuana containing 2.7% △9-THC (M) and marijuana containing 0.0% △9-THC (P). In addition to measures of discrimination responding, subjective effects were assessed with standardized mood questionnaires. The post-smoking increase in expired air carbon monoxide (CO) level was used as an index of smoke inhalation. Relative to P cigarettes, M cigarettes increased heart rate and produced changes on eight mood scales. M cigarettes were rated as harsher and more potent than P cigarettes, and produced lower levels of CO than P cigarettes. The P-M discrimination was readily acquired by most subjects. The DS effects of marijuana showed a rapid onset, appearing within 90 s from the beginning of smoking. The DS effects were dose dependent, with 0.9% △9-THC marijuana producing primarily placebo-appropriate discrimination responding, and 1.4% △9-THC marijuana producing 100% drug-appropriate responding. This experimental paradigm could be used to determine whether the DS effects of smoked marijuana would generalize to those of other psychoactive drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-212
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Cannabinoids
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Drug discrimination
  • Humans
  • Marijuana
  • Mood
  • Stimulus effects
  • Subjective effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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