Birth Defects Research | VOL. 114

Animal evidence considered in determination of cannabis smoke and Δ 9 ‐tetrahydrocannabinol as causing reproductive toxicity (developmental endpoint): Part III . Proposed neurodevelopmental mechanisms of action

Publication Date Sep 20, 2022


This review summarizes the most common potential pathways of neurodevelopmental toxicity due to perinatal exposure to Δ9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9 -THC) that lead to behavioral and other adverse outcomes (AOs). This is Part III in a set of reviews highlighting the animal-derived data considered by California's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) in 2019. The Hazard Identification Document (HID) provided to the DARTIC included a summary of human, whole animal, and mechanistic data on the neurodevelopmental toxicity of cannabis smoke and Δ9 -THC. The literature search for mechanistic data has been updated through 2020. We focus on mechanistic pathways relating to behavioral and other neurodevelopmental outcomes of perinatal exposure to Δ9 -THC. The endocannabinoid system (EC system) plays a crucial role in many processes involved in neurodevelopment and exposure to Δ9 -THC can alter these processes. Whole animal studies report changes in cognitive ability, behavior, and motor function after prenatal exposure to Δ9 -THC. Findings from mechanistic studies add to this evidence and further provide information regarding the pathways leading to these outcomes. Neuromechanistic studies can bridge the gaps between molecular initiating events and apical neurodevelopmental endpoints caused by a chemical. They offer insight into potential alterations in the same pathways by other chemicals that can also result in AOs. Studies of cannabinoid receptor agonist-induced molecular alterations and provide d...


EC System Developmental Endpoint Neurodevelopmental Toxicity Adverse Outcomes Mechanistic Data Endocannabinoid System Changes In Cognitive Behavior Reproductive Toxicant Potential Alterations Changes In Motor Function

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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