Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Pharmaceutics and Drug Delivery

First Advisor

Nicole Ashpole

Second Advisor

Kristie Willett

Third Advisor

Jason Paris

Relational Format



Exposure to cannabinoids during critical development periods has increased with epileptic children being commonly prescribed CBD for seizures and pregnant women taking it recreationally. Many studies have been done on the possible benefits and drawbacks of cannabinoid exposure on the human brain, but not much is known about how it can affect the developing brain long-term. To see the potential adverse effects of cannabinoid exposure during critical stages of development and discover potential developmental origins of disease in consuming cannabinoids during embryogenesis, zebrafish embryos (6-96 hours post fertilization) were exposed to varying concentrations of CBD (0.02, 0.1, 0.5 µM), THC (0.08, 0.4, 2 µM) and a control (0.05% DMSO). Exposed parents (F0) were bred to produce an F1 generation to see if effects were cross-generational. Effects of aging were assessed 30 months after exposure. As zebrafish age, increased incidents of kyphosis are observed as well as decreased physical activity. The aged male fish exposed to 0.1 µM CBD during embryogenesis rotated significantly more times than the aged control male fish, demonstrating a significant deviation from the expected age-related change. These changes were not observed in the female fish or at any other experimental concentration of CBD or THC. Furthermore, the aged male fish treated with 0.4 µM THC swam with significantly more mobility than the aged control male fish, showing a significant deviation in mobility from the expected age-related change in aged fish. This was not observed in the female fish or at any other experimental concentration of CBD or THC. Exposure to THC and CBD during embryogenesis did not significantly alter the expected increase in kyphosis in aged males or females, despite a visual trend of reduced curvature as concentrations of both cannabinoids decreased. These findings demonstrate that exposure to cannabinoids during critical development periods can cause significant effects on the long term health of zebrafish.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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