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CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets


ISSN (Print): 1871-5273
ISSN (Online): 1996-3181

Review Article

Is there a Teratogenicity Risk Associated with Cannabis and Synthetic Cannabimimetics’ (‘Spice’) Intake?

Author(s): Laura Orsolini*, Duccio Papanti, John Corkery, Maria Antonietta De Luca, Cristina Cadoni, Gaetano Di Chiara and Fabrizio Schifano

Volume 16, Issue 5, 2017

Page: [585 - 591] Pages: 7

DOI: 10.2174/1871527316666170413101257

Price: $65


Background: Substance use, including cannabis, has been documented amongst women both in the pre-conception period and during pregnancy, particularly during the 1st trimester, which is clearly the most critical period in the organogenesis. The recent emergence on the drug market of synthetic cannabimimetics/SC (‘spice’) may represent a new challenge for clinicians.

Objective: A literature overview on the teratogenicity profile of both cannabis and synthetic cannabimimetics was here carried out.

Method: The PubMed database was searched in order to collect all relevant cases and data regarding the possible evidence of teratogenicity issues associated with cannabis and SC intake.

Results: The use of cannabis in pregnant women has been associated with a plethora of both obstetrical/ gestational complications and neurobehavioral/neurological effects on newborns. Conversely, only few and conflicting data are related to SC misuse issues.

Conclusion: Although cannabis use may be considered a risk factor for the occurrence of pregnancyrelated morbidity issues, many studies relied on self-reports and showed inconsistent results when controlling for potential confounders, including tobacco use. Given the role of the endocannabinoid system in both pregnancy and delivery, SC potency at interacting with the endocannabinoid system may be a reason of concern. Clinicians should carefully assess each woman planning a pregnancy, or who is pregnant already, and who is at risk of persisting in her current cannabis and/or SC intake. A nonjudgmental approach, aiming at collecting both a history of drug/alcohol use and at providing information regarding the risks associated with cannabis/SC intake during pregnancy is here advised.

Keywords: Cannabis, pregnancy, synthetic cannabimimetics, synthetic cannabinoids, teratogenicity, substance use.

Graphical Abstract

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