Background and purpose: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotomimetic compound from Cannabis sativa that induces anxiolytic- and antipsychotic-like effects in animal models. Effects of CBD may be mediated by the activation of 5-HT1A receptors. As 5-HT1A receptor activation may induce antidepressant-like effects, the aim of this work was to test the hypothesis that CBD would have antidepressant-like activity in mice as assessed by the forced swimming test. We also investigated if these responses depended on the activation of 5-HT1A receptors and on hippocampal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
Conclusion and implications: CBD induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of imipramine. These effects of CBD were probably mediated by activation of 5-HT1A receptors.