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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2019 Apr;24(2):149-154. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2019.02.001. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Cannabis: An ancient friend or foe? What works and doesn't work.

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Department of Paediatrics, Mercy Hospital for Women, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address:


Cannabis has been cultivated by mankind for a multitude of uses over a period of thousands of years. This review explores how our relationship with the cannabis plant has evolved over this period of time, including the use of cannabis for recreational purposes and for its medicinal properties. The endocannabinoid system plays a complex role in the development of the fetal, infant and adolescent brain. Use of exogenous cannabinoids has the potential to result in supra-physiological stimulation and impact on normal central nervous system development. Cannabis is the most frequently used recreational drug in western societies and its use is common amongst pregnant women. This review summaries much of the evidence about what is known of the long term effects of in utero cannabis exposure. Further, the potential impact of use of medicinal cannabis products during pregnancy is considered and the implications to health professionals caring for pregnant women and their babies are explored.


Cannabinoid; Cannabis; Lactation; Pregnancy; Review


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