Rat Study—Neurotoxicology of Paternal Cannabis Exposure & Inheritance
At a Glance
This research is similar to Component 1, rats are studied instead of people. This allows us to look at effects across generations in a reasonable amount of time. We will also study how cannabis can may alter the behavior and brain function of exposed rats and their offspring.
- Male rats will either be exposed to THC (the main psychoactive component of cannabis), a cannabis extract, or will serve as a control. Cohorts will be exposed in varying doses and frequencies to represent “daily” users and “weekend” users.
- We will collect sperm samples from the exposed/control rats.
- These rats will undergo a series of neurobehavioral tests. We will also conduct neurochemistry evaluations and extracellular electrophysiology tests.
- The exposed/control rats (F0 generation) will be bred with unexposed female rats. Their offspring (F1 generation) will have sperm samples collected and will undergo the same tests.
- Male F1 rats will be bred with unexposed female rats. Their offspring (F2 generation) will have sperm samples collected and will undergo the same tests.
- Component 3 researchers will use these sperm samples to assess epigenetic alterations
- Long-term cannabis exposure in male rats will result in epigenetic alterations in sperm.
- Cannabis exposure will cause neurobehavioral impairment in offspring and future generations
- Epigenetic effects of cannabis on sperm will diminish and the sperm will recover with continued abstinence from cannabis over the cycle of sperm proliferation, and that therapeutic treatments will reverse epigenetic changes due to cannabis use.
- Short-term abstinence from cannabis use will reverse these epigenetic alterations.