Using cannabis while pregnant linked to psychotic-like behaviors in children: study

Surgeon General Jerome Adams puts on a face mask after a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss vaccines and protecting public health during the coronavirus pandemic on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in Washington. He has warned against using cannabis while pregnant. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)

Is reefer madness hereditary?

A new study found that using cannabis while pregnant may increase psychotic-like behavior in children.

The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, followed 11,489 children over a series of years and evaluated their cognitive and behavior patterns around their ninth birthdays.

Only 655 of those children were exposed to weed in utero, but the study found that those children were overwhelmingly more likely to have psychotic-like behaviors as well as more attention, social and sleep issues, as well as lesser cognitive abilities.

The problems were even more pronounced if the mother continued to use cannabis after learning she was pregnant.

A recent study from National Institute on Drug Abuse found that cannabis use by pregnant women doubled between 2002 and 2017.

While the vast majority used weed in their first trimester, the first trimester is arguably the most critical time for the fetus’ developing brain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, previous studies have linked weed use to low birth weight, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and attention issues. Other studies have linked weed use to autism.

In 2019, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned against cannabis use by pregnant women.

“Recent increases in access to marijuana and in its potency, along with misperceptions of safety of marijuana endanger our most precious resource, our nation’s youth,” he said.

“THC has been found in breast milk for up to six days after the last recorded use,” the advisory states. “It may affect the newborn’s brain development and result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences.

“Additionally, marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful components as tobacco smoke. No one should smoke marijuana or tobacco around a baby.”


By David Matthews, New York Daily News, via McClatchy