Birth Defects Research | VOL. 114

Animal evidence considered in determination of cannabis smoke and Δ 9 ‐tetrahydrocannabinol ( Δ 9 ‐THC ) as causing reproductive toxicity (developmental endpoint); Part II . Neurodevelopmental effects

Publication Date Sep 16, 2022


This review focuses on neurodevelopmental effects observed in animal studies of cannabis smoke and Δ9 -THC. Effects in offspring after preconceptional, prenatal, or perinatal exposure to cannabis smoke or Δ9 -THC were considered. Locomotor and exploratory behavior effects were noted in rats. Cognitive effects observed included impairment of memory and learning, attention deficits, time taken to complete tasks (rats) and alterations in response to visual stimuli (rats/monkeys). Emotionality was observed in rodents as an increase in separation-induced ultrasonic vocalizations, reduced social interaction and play behavior, and increased generalized anxiety. Increased rate of acquisition of morphine self-administration and/or enhanced sensitivity towards the rewarding effects of morphine or heroin were observed in adult rats prenatally exposed to Δ9 -THC. Expression of cannabinoid receptors was examined in rodent studies along with behavioral parameters. Altered mRNA levels of genes relevant to synaptic plasticity in the nucleus accumbens (the brain region associated with compulsivity, addiction vulnerability, and reward sensitivity) were noted. Findings in zebrafish supported effects in mammalian models. Neurochemical effects on specific brain regions and neurotransmitter systems seen in these animal studies appear to impact cognitive function, motor activity, and drug sensitivity. Mechanistic studies provided evidence for the biological plausibility of effects observed. Observations from animal studies of changes in motor beha...


Developmental Toxicant Animal Studies Rewarding Effects Of Morphine Separation-induced Ultrasonic Vocalizations Cannabis Smoke Changes In Motor Behavior Expression Of Cannabinoid Receptors Addiction Vulnerability Developmental Endpoint Reward Sensitivity

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