Reproduction in Rhesus Monkeys Chronically Exposed to Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol
Data is reported from 46 matings between 11 undrugged adult rhesus monkey breeders and eight comparable breeders that had received daily oral doses of Δ9-THC at 2.4 mg per kg for a 5-yr period. Matings of drugged breeders showed no decrease in conceptions, but a 42% reproductive loss for matings of THC-treated females compared to an 8–11% loss for matings of undrugged females. The observed losses were not related to parity of mother or duration of drug intake and were nonspecific relative to stage of pregnancy; i.e., they occurred as resorptions, abortions, fetal deaths, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths. Nonviable term offspring appeared grossly normal, but exhibited a variety of nonspecific abnormalities on histopathological evaluation.
Viable offspring of drugged mothers also appeared grossly normal. However, male infants had significantly lower birth rates. In general, offspring of THC-treated mothers tended to show subtle behavioral differences from control offspring in both responsivity to environmental stimuli and adaptability in peer social environments.
The nonspecific and variable nature of these effects in a controlled primate test system suggests that such effects would be difficult to document in relation to marihuana use in the human population.
KeywordsInguinal Hernia Breeding Season Rhesus Monkey Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Control Mother
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