Self-Administration and Dependence Liability

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Primary Marker of Drug Dependence:

“[S]elf-administration of a drug to the point where the behavior becomes obsessive and detrimental to the individual is the primary criterion which must be met to classify a drug as one with significant potential for dependence.”

Cicero, T. (1992) Assessment of Dependence Liability of Psychotropic Substances: Nature of the Problem and the Role of the College on Problems on Drug Dependence. Contractor Document for the Office of Technology Assessment. (Springfield, VA: National Technical Information Service. 1992.) (NTIS Doc. #PB94-175643) pg. 6.

A Primary Clinical Test of Dependence Liability:

“If the abuse liability of a substance as defined by the likelihood of it supporting drug-seeking and drug-taking, is to be evaluated, an assessment of its reinforcing functions by self-administration is clearly the method of choice.”

Brady, J.V. “The Reinforcing Functions of Drugs and Assessment of Abuse Liability.” In: Problems of Drug Dependence,1987. Proceedings of the 49th Annual Scientific Meeting, The Committee on Problems of Drug Dependence, Inc. Harris, L. (ed.), National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Monograph 81. Washington, D.C.:U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1988. pp. 440 – 456. pg. 452.

Marijuana Does Not Meet a Primary Test for Dependence:

“While self-administration of drugs has been taken as an indication of psychological dependence and/or abuse potential, few reports claim to have established experimental models for self administration of Delta-9-THC . . . This observation suggests limited potential for development of . . . limited psychological dependence due to the weak reinforcing properties of Delta-9-THC.”

Abood, M.E., and Martin, B.R. (1992), “Neurobiology of Marijuana Abuse,” Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 203.