The neurobiological mechanisms underlying the effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) remain unclear. Here, we examined the spatial acute effect of THC on human regional brain activation or blood flow (hereafter called 'activation signal') in a 'core' network of brain regions from 372 participants, tested using a within-subject repeated measures design under experimental conditions. We also investigated whether the neuromodulatory effects of THC are related to the local expression of the cannabinoid-type-1 (CB1R) and type-2 (CB2R) receptors. Finally, we investigated the dose-response relationship between THC and key brain substrates. These meta-analytic findings shed new light on the localisation of the effects of THC in the human brain, suggesting that THC has neuromodulatory effects in regions central to many cognitive tasks and processes, related to dose, with greater effects in regions with higher levels of CB1R expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104801
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date30 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Brain
  • Dronabinol
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Regression Analysis

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