In this study, it was aimed to show the cannabinoid receptor-2 (CB2) role, which is a part of neuroprotective endocannabinoidal system, against increasing nitric oxide synthetase (iNOS, eNOS) levels and the apoptotic activity (caspase-3, caspase-9, and DNA in situ fragmentation) within the postnatal critical period in pups of pregnant rats with artificially induced maternal thyroid hormone (TH) deficiency. Each of the three groups established comprised one male and two female rats, and they were coupled. Their pups were used. In the first two groups, the mothers were treated with 0.025% MMI during the critical period of the pregnancy. In the third group, as the control group, the mothers and pups were not treated. Euthanasia was applied to the pups in Group I on Day 10, and to the pups in Groups II and III on Day 21. In the biochemical analyses, total T4 levels of both mothers and pups in Group I and II were found to be lower than those of the control group. Histopathologically, karyopyknosis in migrating neurons and demyelinization were observed in both groups. Caspase-3 and 29 expressions and TUNEL reactions showed parallelism to these findings. eNOS and iNOS activities were also increased in Groups I and II. CB2 receptor activity was observed in the fore and mid brain in Group I, and in the whole brain in Group II. In conclusion, apoptosis was triggered via oxidative stress in hypothyroid pups. Accordingly, neuroprotective activity of CB2 receptors were motivated spontaneously to resist to CNS lesions during the first 3 weeks of postnatal period. (C) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.