Teen Cannabinoid Use of Mothers May Increase Children’s Response to Opiate Drugs


A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology and funded by the National Institutes of Health found that Mothers who use marijuana as teens may put their future children at a higher risk of drug abuse, even if marijuana use happens long before having children. Researchers in the Neuroscience and Reproductive Biology section of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study to help understand and determine the transgenerational effects of cannabinoid exposure in adolescent female rats. Rats used in this study were administered the cannabinoid receptor agonist WIN-55,212-2 for three days. The cannabinoid receptor is a drug that has similar effected in the brain as TCH which is the active ingredient in marijuana. They then remained untreated until being mated as adult rats.

Then, the male offspring of the female rats were measured for a preference between chambers that were paired with either saline or morphine against a control group. The rats whose mothers had the adolescent exposure to WIN-55,212-2 were found to significantly be more likely to opt for the morphine chamber that those in the control group. This suggests that the rats with the exposed mothers had an increased preference for opiate drugs.

While acknowledging that they are using rodent models that may not fully translate to the human condition, Research Assistant Professor John J. Byrnes, lead author of the study discussed the main interest of the study lies in determining whether substances often used during adolescence can induce behavioral and neurochemical changes that may influence the development of future generations.

Certainly more research is needed to determine if previous drug use can impact future offspring of humans. Particularly adolescent drug use.



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