Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Sep 2;22(17):9528. doi: 10.3390/ijms22179528.
Up to 20% of pregnant women ages 18-24 consume cannabis during pregnancy. Moreover, clinical studies indicate that cannabis consumption during pregnancy leads to fetal growth restriction (FGR), which is associated with an increased risk of obesity, type II diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular disease in the offspring. This is of great concern considering that the concentration of Δ9– tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), a major psychoactive component of cannabis, has doubled over the last decade and can readily cross the placenta and enter fetal circulation, with the potential to negatively impact fetal development via the endocannabinoid (eCB) system. Cannabis exposure in utero could also lead to FGR via placental insufficiency. In this review, we aim to examine current pre-clinical and clinical findings on the direct effects of exposure to cannabis and its constituents on fetal development as well as indirect effects, namely placental insufficiency, on postnatal metabolic diseases.