Call for Papers on Developmental Exposures to Cannabinoids

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Neurotoxicology and Teratology to Focus on Developmental Exposures to Cannabinoids


To:       Teratology Society Members

From:   Editors of Neurotoxicology and Teratology

A growing body of research emphasizes the therapeutic value of marijuana among adults to manage a variety of physical and psychological conditions. Cannabis is also the world’s third most popular recreational drug. The recent proliferation in the availability of marijuana due to its legalization for medical purposes in 23 states and District of Columbia, and recreational use in 4 states, most likely will signal an increase in its use.

Marijuana is also the most commonly used illicit substance among adolescents and pregnant women in the United States.  Both the prenatal/neonatal and adolescent periods represent dynamic phases of brain development during which proper patterning of the central nervous system is most susceptible to disruption.  Increasing evidence from epidemiological and animal studies indicates that cannabinoid drugs are neuroteratogens.  As endocannabinoids play a crucial role in brain development, changes in the endogenous system, induced by either naturally occurring or synthetic cannabinoids, may produce neurobiological changes that affect brain functions and behavior. 

Therefore, Neurotoxicology and Teratology is organizing a special issue to synthesize and update outcomes of developmental exposure to cannabinoids.  The title of the issue will be “Developmental Cannabinoid Exposure: New Perspectives on Mechanisms, Outcomes, and Implications for Public Health”. Although there are recent reviews on some of these topics, the purpose of this Special Issue is to provide a compendium of objective scientific evidence of questions and outcomes that may serve to inform decision-makers about the potential hazards and benefits of cannabinoid compounds. Dr. Sonya K. Sobrian (Howard University College of Medicine) is the Guest Editor, and Dr. Jerrold S Meyer (University of Massachusetts) is the Special Issues Editor. 

As an established researcher in the field and/or a member of the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society, Teratology Society, or the Society of Toxicology (especially RDSS), you are cordially invited to contribute a paper to this Special Issue. 

Papers submitted for this Special Issue should

  • Focus on effects of developmental (prenatal through adolescent) exposure to cannabinoid compounds including natural cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa or synthetic cannabinoid compounds, and

  • Include some assessment of central nervous system structure and/or function (including behavior), either in vivo or in vitro.

Submissions may include:

  • Critical reviews of the literature or primary research reports,

  • In vitro or in vivo studies using laboratory animal species, or human studies, including clinical trials and epidemiological studies involving human cohorts,

  • Studies involving development stages of the lifespan.  Although the emphasis is on prenatal/neonatal and adolescent exposure, since research on developmental exposure to synthetic cannabinoids may be limited, a paper or review that involves adult exposure to these compounds will be considered, especially if slanted towards how these compounds are similar to or different from THC, and how such similarities or differences might impact development if used by pregnant women.

  • Assessment of neurobiological and neuroanatomical changes, genetic and epigenetic alterations, and alterations in behavioral function, i.e., cognitive, psychiatric disturbances and substance abuse, and sex differences in outcomes, and

  • Issues involving use of medical marijuana during pregnancy that might consider the trade-offs between beneficial consequences to the mother, and the potential hazardous consequences to the fetus.  

Timeline of the Special Issue:

  • Deadline for submission of tentative title, list of authors, and short description of manuscript Topic:  Friday, May 15th , 2015.  Please send an e-mail with this information to Sonya K. Sobrian

  • Deadline for full submission of manuscript:  Friday, August 14th, 2015.  Please submit your manuscript to Neurotoxicology and Teratology, via the electronic submission system at  Manuscripts should be designated for the “Developmental Cannabinoid SI” in the system, and the cover letter should also specify that the submission is targeted for this issue.

  • The Special Issue is expected to appear by the end of the year.

We would appreciate hearing back from you within the next 10 days as to your interest in submitting a manuscript.

Please do not hesitate to contact Sonya K. Sobrian if you have any questions about a possible submission. We hope you will accept this invitation and eagerly look forward to hearing from you. Please share this announcement with other researchers who may be interested.


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