Cannabis and alcohol co-use is common, and the trend may increase further given the current popularity of cannabis legalization. However, the metabolic consequences of such co-use are unclear. Here, we investigated how co-administration of alcohol and ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, affects body weight and visceral adiposity, and glucose and insulin homeostasis in rats. For 16 consecutive days during adolescence, male rats drank saccharin or alcohol after receiving subcutaneous oil or THC injections in Experiment 1 and voluntarily consumed alcohol, THC edible, or both drugs in Experiment 2. Experiment 1 showed that following abstinence, drug co-exposure reduced visceral fat and the amount of insulin required to clear glucose during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). In Experiment 2, rats received a high-fat diet (HFD) after 3-week abstinence. Although adolescent drug use did not interact with the HFD to worsen hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia during an OGTT, HFD-fed rats that co-used alcohol and THC had the lowest insulin levels 75 min after an insulin injection, suggesting an altered rate of insulin secretion and degradation. These results suggest that THC and alcohol co-exposure can distinctly alter the physiology of glucose and insulin homeostasis in a rodent model.
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