European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience

, Volume 259, Issue 7, pp 395–412

Neurobiological consequences of maternal cannabis on human fetal development and its neuropsychiatric outcome

  • Didier Jutras-Aswad
  • Jennifer A. DiNieri
  • Tibor Harkany
  • Yasmin L. Hurd
Special Issue

DOI: 10.1007/s00406-009-0027-z

Cite this article as:
Jutras-Aswad, D., DiNieri, J.A., Harkany, T. et al. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci (2009) 259: 395. doi:10.1007/s00406-009-0027-z

Abstract

Despite the high prevalence of marijuana use among pregnant women and adolescents, the impact of cannabis on the developing brain is still not well understood. However, growing evidence supports that the endocannabinoid system plays a major role in CNS patterning in structures relevant for mood, cognition, and reward, such as the mesocorticolimbic system. It is thus clear that exposure to cannabis during early ontogeny is not benign and potential compensatory mechanisms that might be expected to occur during neurodevelopment appear insufficient to eliminate vulnerability to neuropsychiatric disorders in certain individuals. Both human longitudinal cohort studies and animal models strongly emphasize the long-term influence of prenatal cannabinoid exposure on behavior and mental health. This review provides an overview of the endocannabinoid system and examines the neurobiological consequences of cannabis exposure in pregnancy and early life by addressing its impact on the development of neurotransmitters systems relevant to neuropsychiatric disorders and its association with these disorders later in life. It posits that studying in utero cannabis exposure in association with genetic mutations of neural systems that have strong relationships to endocannabinoid function, such as the dopamine, opioid, glutamate, and GABA, might help to identify individuals at risk. Such data could add to existing knowledge to guide public health platform in regard to the use of cannabis and its derivatives during pregnancy.

Keywords

EndocannabinoidCannabinoid receptorDrug addictionSchizophreniaTHC

Abbreviations

2-AG

2-Arachidonoyl glycerol

5HT3

5-hydroxytryptamine 3 receptor

AAT

Adenosine-adenosine-thymine

ABHD4

Alpha/beta hydroxylase-4

AEA

Anandamide

AMPA

Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid

CB1R

Cannabinoid receptor type 1

CB2R

Cannabinoid receptor type 2

CNR1

Cannabinoid receptor type 1 gene

CNS

Central nervous system

COMT

Catechol-O-methyltransferase

D1

Dopamine receptor type 1

D2

Dopamine receptor type 2

DAGL

Diacylglycerol lipase

eCB

Endocannabinoid

FAAH

Fatty acid amide hydrolase

GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric acid

GABA-B

Gamma-aminobutyric acid type B receptor

GDE1

Glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase 1

GluR1

Glutamate receptor type 1

GluR2/3

Glutamate receptor type 2 and 3

GPCR

G protein-coupled receptor

GPR55

G-protein coupled receptor 55

GTPγS

Guanosine gamma thio-phosphate

IQ

Intelligence quotient

MAPK

Mitogen-activated protein kinase

Met

Methionine

MGL

Monoglyceride lipase

MHPCD

Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Project

mRNA

Messenger ribonucleic acid

NAPE-PLD

N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamine-specific phospholipase D

NRG1

Neuregulin 1

OPPS

Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study

THC

Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol

TRPV1

Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1

Val

Valine

WIN55,212-2

R(+)-[2,3-Dihydro-5-methyl-3-[(morpholinyl)methyl]pyrrolo [1,2,3-de]1,4-benzoxazinyl]-(1-naphthalenyl) methanone mesylate

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Didier Jutras-Aswad
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jennifer A. DiNieri
    • 1
  • Tibor Harkany
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yasmin L. Hurd
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and NeuroscienceMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryCentre Hospitalier de l’Université de MontréalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Institute of Medical Sciences, School of Medical SciencesUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUK
  4. 4.Division of Molecular Neurobiology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and BiophysicsKarolinska InstituteStockholmSweden