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Behav Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;16(5-6):353-62.

Behavioural and neuroendocrine effects of cannabinoids in critical developmental periods.

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  • 1Departamento de Fisiología (Fisiología Animal II), Facultad de Biología, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain. pazviver@bio.ucm.es


The present article focuses on psychoneuroendocrine effects of cannabinoids in developing animals, with special emphasis on the perinatal, periweanling and periadolescent periods. We describe and discuss published data dealing with acute and long-term effects of exposure to cannabinoid agonists in such critical periods. Human studies have demonstrated that the consumption of marijuana by women during pregnancy affects the neurobehavioural development of their children. Investigations using animal models provide useful information for a better understanding of the long-lasting deleterious consequences of cannabis exposure during pregnancy and lactation. The increasing use of cannabis among adolescents and its associated public health problems have led to a parallel increase in basic research on appropriate animal models. Chronic administration of cannabinoid agonists during the periadolescent period causes persistent behavioural alterations in adult animals. Some of these alterations may be related to a possible increased risk of psychosis and other neuropsychiatric disorders in early onset cannabis users.

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