The effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol exposure on female menstrual cyclicity and reproductive health in rhesus macaques

Kimberly S. Ryan, Shruthi Mahalingaiah, Lily R. Campbell, Victoria H.J. Roberts, Juanito Jose D. Terrobias, Chelsey S. Naito, Emily R. Boniface, Laura M. Borgelt, Jason C. Hedges, Carol B. Hanna, Jon D. Hennebold, Jamie O. Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine the dose-dependent effect of contemporary marijuana exposure on female menstrual cyclicity and reproductive endocrine physiology in a nonhuman primate model. Design: Research animal study. Setting: Research institute environment. Animals: Adult female rhesus macaques (6–12 years of age; n = 8). Intervention(s): Daily delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) edible at medically and recreationally relevant contemporary doses. Main Outcome Measure(s): Menstrual cycle length (MCL), anti-Müllerian hormone, prolactin, basal follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol (E2) and progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and thyroid-stimulating hormone. Result(s): The average before THC weight was 6.9 kg (standard deviation, 0.8), and at the highest THC dosing, the average weight was 7.2 kg (standard deviation, 0.8). With increasing THC dosing, MCL and FSH concentrations increased, while basal E2 concentration was stable. The average MCL concentration increased 4.0 days for each mg/7 kg/day of THC (95% CI, 1.4–6.6 days). Follicle-stimulating hormone concentration increased significantly with increasing THC dose, 0.34 ng/mL for each mg/7 kg/day of THC (95% CI, 0.14–0.57 ng/mL). No significant trends were observed between THC dosing and average basal progesterone, anti-Müllerian hormone, prolactin, LH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone concentrations. Conclusion(s): In rhesus macaques, a dose response toward increased MCL and basal FSH concentrations but plateau of basal E2 and LH concentrations was observed with increasing THC dosing, suggesting ovulatory dysfunction. Further studies are needed to determine the effects of a longer duration of exposure and whether the significant increase in MCL and FSH concentrations results in reduced fecundity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-294
Number of pages8
JournalF and S Science
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Cannabis
  • female reproductive health
  • marijuana
  • menstrual cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology

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