The recent shift in sociopolitical debates and growing liberalization of cannabis use across the globe has raised concern regarding its impact on vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women and adolescents. Epidemiological studies have long demonstrated a relationship between developmental cannabis exposure and later mental health symptoms. This relationship is especially strong in people with particular genetic polymorphisms, suggesting that cannabis use interacts with genotype to increase mental health risk. Seminal animal research directly linked prenatal and adolescent exposure to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the major psychoactive component of cannabis, with protracted effects on adult neural systems relevant to psychiatric and substance use disorders. In this article, we discuss some recent advances in understanding the long-term molecular, epigenetic, electrophysiological, and behavioral consequences of prenatal, perinatal, and adolescent exposure to cannabis/delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Insights are provided from both animal and human studies, including in vivo neuroimaging strategies.
Keywords: adolescence; cannabis; cognition; perinatal; psychiatric disorders; reward.
Copyright © 2019 the authors.
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- P50 MH094268/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
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- NIHR-CS-011-001/DH_/Department of Health/United Kingdom
- EME/16/126/53/DH_/Department of Health/United Kingdom