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Cannabis use in pregnancy and early life and its consequences: animal models


Cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands have been detected from the earliest stages of embryonic development. The endocannabinoid system appears to play essential roles in these early stages for neuronal development and cell survival, although its detailed involvement in fundamental developmental processes such as proliferation, migration and differentiation has not yet been completely understood. Therefore, it is not surprising that manipulations of the endocannabinoid system by cannabinoid exposure during early developmental stages can result in long-lasting neurobehavioural consequences. The present review will summarize the possible residual behavioural effects of cannabinoid administration during pre- and perinatal as well as early postnatal development, derived from animal studies.

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Brain growth spurt




Conditioned place preference


CP 55,940


Elevated plus maze


Forced swim test


Gestational day


Postnatal day


Progressive ratio




Ultrasonic vocalization


WIN 55,212-2


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Correspondence to Miriam Schneider.

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Schneider, M. Cannabis use in pregnancy and early life and its consequences: animal models. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 259, 383–393 (2009).

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  • Cannabinoids
  • Prenatal
  • Postnatal
  • CB1 receptor
  • Pregnancy
  • Animal models