Paternal THC exposure in rats causes long-lasting neurobehavioral effects in the offspring
A recent study has exposed the negative effects of paternal exposure to ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on attentional capabilities of offspring. The data provides evidence that a moderate dose of THC modulates the methylation of sperm in rats which was found to have long-term effects on offspring during the operant attention task. THC exposure did not affect the clinical health of the litter, the number of offspring, sex ratio, birth weight, survival rates, or growth although there was a reported increase in habituation of locomotor activity in adult offspring. As the study provides evidence that paternal exposure to THC can cause deleterious behavioral effects in the offspring this study should be repeated in humans or males who self-report cannabis use and conceive a child should be observed for the health of the next generation.
The effect of prenatal exposure to cannabis on birth rates, birth outcomes, and the health of the mother is rather uncertain. Studies focussing on cannabis use during pregnancy are limited and what little has been reported is inconsistent. The featured article now brings to light that both parents may need to be cautious when attempting to conceive or when having unprotected sex as cannabis may affect both germ cells. Currently, governing bodies of obstetricians advise that pregnant mothers cease any cannabis use so if someone who needs cannabis for a medical purpose that improves their quality of life becomes pregnant they need to seek out alternative methods of treatment. Research is needed so that pregnant women can safely continue their medication or so that alternatives can be found so that women do not need to suffer for the duration of their pregnancy and possible breastfeeding period.
The study is available for review or download here
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