Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the active principle in marijuana, is a cannabinoid receptor agonist. Both the crude drug and delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol have been used as appetite promoters. The endogenous cannabinoid, arachidonoyl ethanolamide (anandamide), likewise a cannabinoid receptor agonist, has been shown to have the same effect. In contrast, the cannabinoid CB1 receptor antagonist N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1-H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (SR141716A) reduces food intake. Here, we report that administration of SR141716A to newly born mouse pups (either a single administration on postnatal day 1, or daily for a week as of postnatal day 2) had a devastating effect on milk ingestion and growth. The first 24 h after birth appeared the most critical for the growth stunting effect of SR141716A. Death followed within 4-8 days. Co-administration of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol almost fully reversed the effect of the antagonist in the week-long regimen. Co-administration of 2-arachidonoyl glycerol, an endocannabinoid, with 2-palmitoyl glycerol and 2-linoleoyl glycerol, which enhance 2-arachidonoyl glycerol potency, resulted in a significant delay in mortality rates caused by the antagonist. We conclude that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in milk suckling, and hence in growth and development during the early stages of mouse life.