Background: Substance use, including cannabis, has been documented amongst women
both in the pre-conception period and during pregnancy, particularly during the 1st trimester, which is
clearly the most critical period in the organogenesis. The recent emergence on the drug market of synthetic
cannabimimetics/SC (‘spice’) may represent a new challenge for clinicians.
Objective: A literature overview on the teratogenicity profile of both cannabis and synthetic cannabimimetics
was here carried out.
Method: The PubMed database was searched in order to collect all relevant cases and data regarding
the possible evidence of teratogenicity issues associated with cannabis and SC intake.
Results: The use of cannabis in pregnant women has been associated with a plethora of both obstetrical/
gestational complications and neurobehavioral/neurological effects on newborns. Conversely, only
few and conflicting data are related to SC misuse issues.
Conclusion: Although cannabis use may be considered a risk factor for the occurrence of pregnancyrelated
morbidity issues, many studies relied on self-reports and showed inconsistent results when controlling
for potential confounders, including tobacco use. Given the role of the endocannabinoid system
in both pregnancy and delivery, SC potency at interacting with the endocannabinoid system may
be a reason of concern. Clinicians should carefully assess each woman planning a pregnancy, or who
is pregnant already, and who is at risk of persisting in her current cannabis and/or SC intake. A nonjudgmental
approach, aiming at collecting both a history of drug/alcohol use and at providing information
regarding the risks associated with cannabis/SC intake during pregnancy is here advised.