Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is known to modulate immune response in peripheral blood cells. The mechanisms of THC’s effects on gene expression in human immune cells remains poorly understood. Combining a within-subject design with single cell transcriptome mapping, we report that THC acutely alters gene expression in 15,973 blood cells. We identified 294 transcriptome-wide significant genes among eight cell types including 69 common genes and 225 cell-type-specific genes affected by THC administration, including those genes involving in immune response, cytokine production, cell proliferation and apoptosis. We revealed distinct transcriptomic sub-clusters affected by THC in major immune cell types where THC perturbed cell-type-specific intracellular gene expression correlations. Gene set enrichment analysis further supports the findings of THC’s common and cell-type-specific effects on immune response and cell toxicity. This comprehensive single-cell transcriptomic profiling provides important insights into THC’s acute effects on immune function that may have important medical implications.
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