Cannabis Use During Pregnancy Linked to Adverse Birth Outcomes, New Study Reveals

by Ella

In a recent study published in the scientific journal Addiction, researchers have found compelling evidence linking the consumption of cannabis during pregnancy to adverse outcomes for infants, including premature birth, low birth weight, and an increased likelihood of requiring time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).


Maryam Sorkhou, the author of the study, highlighted the global rise in cannabis use among women of reproductive age, emphasizing the need for a closer examination of its potential effects during pregnancy. Sorkhou explained, “We know that THC, the main psychoactive constituent in cannabis, can cross the placenta from mother to fetus and bind to receptors in the fetal brain. Our study adds to that knowledge by showing that prenatal exposure to cannabis heightens the risk of several adverse birth outcomes.”


The comprehensive study, spanning 57 research papers published between 1984 and 2023 and involving data from over 12 million infants, revealed that 102,835 babies were exposed to cannabis during pregnancy.


Key findings from the study include:

Premature Delivery:


In 20 of the studies analyzed, pregnant individuals using cannabis were found to be 1.5 times more likely to experience premature delivery.

Low Birth Weight:

Across 18 studies focused on low birth weight, pregnant individuals using cannabis were over twice as likely to give birth to smaller babies.

NICU Care Requirement:

Examining 10 studies related to NICU care, infants exposed to cannabis were more than twice as likely to require NICU care compared to non-exposed infants.
The National Institutes of Health underscore the prevalence of cannabis as the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy. In alignment with this, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advises mothers to refrain from using marijuana during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to the potential risks it poses to both the mother and the baby.

This study contributes valuable insights into the potential consequences of cannabis use during pregnancy, urging healthcare professionals and expectant mothers to be aware of these findings and consider them in making informed decisions about maternal health and fetal well-being.


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