Fetal Exposure to Marijuana Changes Brain
A new study in Biological Psychiatry shows that children whose mother used marijuana while pregnant have a thicker prefrontal cortex than children who were not exposed to the drug in utero. This area of the brain is involved in decision-making, active memory, cognition, and other functions.
It’s estimated that up to 13% of women worldwide use cannabis during pregnancy. Several studies have associated marijuana use in women who are pregnant with behavioral problems—both short- and long-term—in offspring. Analyzing data from the study shows differences in brain structure among children exposed to marijuana, children exposed to tobacco, and children exposed to neither substance before birth.
The causal relationship between cannabis use during pregnancy and abnormal brain development, if any, is not fully understood at this time. Good prenatal care—including avoiding marijuana use and smoking—increases the chances for a healthy pregnancy and baby.