Endocannabinoids:Prenatal/Postnatal Development

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Mar 27, 2005
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Endocannabinoid System Plays Pivotal Role In Prenatal And Postnatal Development, Medical Journal Says

October 7, 2004 - Ariel, Israel

Ariel, Israel: Endocannabinoids (naturally occurring chemicals in the body that mimic marijuana's cannabinoids) and their receptors "have major influence during pre- and postnatal development," and may one day play a significant role in pediatric medicine, according to a clinical review published this week European Journal of Pharmacology.

Clinical studies have documented that the activation of cannabis receptors as well as the production of the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide are essential for proper prenatal and post natal development. Authors note that endocannabinoids are present in the uterus and in mother's milk, and that activation of the cannabinoid receptors in newborns is critical to the development of the oral-motor and nervous systems. Anandamide also has neuroprotectant properties in the developing postnatal brain, and affects "prefrontal cortical functions, memory and motor and addictive behaviors."

Authors concluded, "The medical implications of these novel developments are far reaching and suggest a promising future for cannabinoids in pediatric medicine" for a variety of conditions, including cystic fibrosis.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500.

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