Effects of cannabis tetrahydrocannabinol on endocannabinoid homeostasis in human placenta
Researchers recently revealed a possible mechanism for the effect of cannabis on pregnancy outcomes via the endocannabinoid system. The placenta contains endocannabinoid receptors and becomes part of the endocannabinoid system of the mother and fetus during pregnancy. The data found in this article provides evidence that ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) impairs the placental endocannabinoid system by disrupting the production and degradation of endogenous cannabinoids. The altered endocannabinoid levels disrupt the trophoblast that comprises a large portion of the placenta, decreasing the number of nutritional compounds that are delivered to the fetus. Further research is necessary to validate the effect of the disrupted placental endocannabinoid system.
This research is a great addition to the current medical research concerning cannabis use and pregnancy but more is still needed. The featured article only focused on the effect of THC on the placenta and resulting birth outcomes but there is so much still to learn. THC is only one of the many medically beneficial cannabinoids present within cannabis products, not to mention terpenes and flavonoids which have also been revealed to possess medicinal properties. As more young women consume medical cannabis for various reasons and then become pregnant, it is imperative that all of the possible effects of cannabis on pregnancy outcomes and overall gestation be revealed. Obstetricians need to know if cannabinoids have little to no effect on pregnancy and are safe for women to continue taking or if alternative therapies need to be decided.
The study is available for review or download here
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