Marijuana and Developmental Damage

Science's STKE  29 May 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 388, pp. tw191
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3882007tw191

The effects of marijuana are mediated by cannabinoid receptors on neurons in the brain, and a causal relation between marijuana use during pregnancy and permanent cognitive deficits in the offspring has been identified. Berghuis et al. now define the molecular hierarchy that controls marijuana actions within single neurons and show that activation of cannabinoid receptors by their natural ligands controls the establishment of functional connections between neurons in the brain. These findings define the cellular context through which prenatal marijuana use perturbs brain development.

P. Berghuis, A. M. Rajnicek, Y. M. Morozov, R. A. Ross, J. Mulder, G. M. Urbán, K. Monory, G. Marsicano, M. Matteoli, A. Canty, A. J. Irving, I. Katona, Y. Yanagawa, P. Rakic, B. Lutz, K. Mackie, T. Harkany, Hardwiring the brain: Endocannabinoids shape neuronal connectivity. Science 316, 1212-1216 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]