Infants born to women who reported marijuana use during pregnancy were more likely to experience adverse neonatal outcomes than infants born to women who did not report marijuana use during pregnancy (non-users) according to a new study published in the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. These adverse neonatal outcomes included Apgar score less than 7 at 5 minutes, small for gestational age, major anomalies, and smaller birth length, weight, and head circumference. Such outcomes have the potential to cause both short and long term neurodevelopmental and behavioral health problems.

This study analyzed routine data collected from the Nova Scotia Atlee Perinatal Database (NSAPD) from all women who gave birth between January 1, 2004 and June 30, 2021 and their infants (106,282 total) in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. 3% of mothers in this study reported marijuana use during pregnancy and compared to mothers who were considered non-users, these mothers were overall younger, not married, of lower socioeconomic status, used alcohol, drugs, and chemicals during pregnancy, and more likely to report anxiety and depression. Additionally, the percentage of women who reported marijuana use during pregnancy increased throughout the study period, from 1.3% in 2003 to 7.5% in 2020. These findings are in agreement with previous studies and highlight the urgent need to counter the false and dangerous narrative promoted by the marijuana industry that marijuana is not only safe for use during pregnancy, but being touted as a medicine by dispensaries who encourage use to prevent morning sickness. In order to reverse this increasing trend to protect the health of both infants and their mothers we need targeted public educational campaigns focused on the true dangers of marijuana use during and after pregnancy.

Koto, P., Allen, V. M., Fahey, J., & Kuhle, S. (2022). Maternal Cannabis Use During Pregnancy and Maternal and Neonatal Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study. BJOG. doi:10.1111/1471-0528.17114
Sheryl A. Ryan, Seth D. Ammerman, Mary E. O’Connor, COMMITTEE ON SUBSTANCE USE AND PREVENTION, SECTION ON BREASTFEEDING, Lucien Gonzalez, Stephen W. Patrick, Joanna Quigley, Leslie R. Walker, Joan Younger Meek, IBCLC, Margreete Johnston, Lisa Stellwagen, Jennifer Thomas, Julie Ware; Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Implications for Neonatal and Childhood Outcomes. Pediatrics September 2018; 142 (3): e20181889. 10.1542/peds.2018-1889