NIH-funded results add to growing scientific evidence of negative health effects of cannabis use during pregnancy
Prenatal cannabis exposure following the middle of the first trimester—generally after five to six weeks of fetal development—is associated with attention, social, and behavioral problems that persist as the affected children progress into early adolescence (11 and 12 years of age), according to new research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health. These conditions may put these children at a greater risk of mental health disorders and substance use in late adolescence, when youth are typically most vulnerable to these disorders and behaviors
These findings add to an expanding body of research on the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy. A previous analysis using baseline data from the ABCD Study found an association between prenatal cannabis exposure and behavioral problems in these children at 9 to 10 years of age. Preclinical studies have shown that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive substance in cannabis, can cross the placenta and potentially affect brain development.