Effects of Marijuana during pregnancy

Woman smoking cannabis

Drinking while pregnant has been known to have a negative effect on the development of the fetus. However, until recently not much research has been done regarding the use of cannabis during a pregnancy, but that is also changing with the increasing availability of cannabis.

With the uptick in legalization of cannabis around the world, more and more people are gaining access to legal marijuana, making it easier for adults to use it recreationally. This includes women who use it regularly in their daily lives and are on their way to starting a family.

According to the Associated Press, the concentration of THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana has more than tripled in the last few decades. With the legalization of recreational marijuana, there have been leaps of innovation in the methods of THC delivery, including vapes, waxes, and edibles.

Many pregnant women admit to using cannabis products to aid them in overcoming symptoms of morning sickness, according to the National Institute of Health. As it turns out, the use of cannabis can have some major negative effects on the development of the child’s brain. This is not only limited to the prenatal stage, but also extending all the way into adolescence and adulthood.

Some reported effects of using cannabis while pregnant include decreased weight at birth, a decrease in short term memory, and hyperactivity in the early development stages of children. Additionally, in the adolescent stages the child will be more likely to develop depressive symptoms, and exhibit acts of delinquency and antisocial behaviour. Moving into adulthood, the child will be more prone to seek out harder drugs and exhibit weaker cognitive memory.

The reason behind such developments is believed to be due to the fact that anything the mother intakes will make its way to the fetus, thus hindering the proper and natural development of the brain. Post-birth cannabis use is also reflected during the breastfeeding stages as a similar effect can be determined when the milk contains traces of THC which may also affect the development of the newborn’s brain.

Although research regarding this topic is still in progress, it is heavily advised that cannabis use be eliminated during the pregnancy and breastfeeding stages to ensure that the risks associated with it are kept to a minimum.



Nicoletta Lanese. “Marijuana Unsafe During Pregnancy or Adolescence: Surgeon General.” The Scientist Magazine, The Scientist Magazine, 30 Aug. 2019, www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/marijuana-unsafe-during-pregnancy-or-adolescence--surgeon-general--66375. Accessed 9 Jan. 2020.

Scheyer, Andrew. “Prenatal Exposure to Cannabis Affects the Developing Brain.” The Scientist Magazine®, The Scientist Magazine, 2019, www.the-scientist.com/features/prenatal-exposure-to-cannabis-affects-the-developing-brain-65230. Accessed 8 Jan. 2020.

Young, Robin, and Francesca Paris. “Cannabis Use Doubles Among Pregnant Women In The U.S., Study Finds.” Wbur.Org, WBUR, 20 June 2019, www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019/06/20/pot-use-pregnant-women. Accessed 8 Jan. 2020.


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