Cannabis Use During Pregnancy Negatively Impacts The Brain Of Male Offspring, Says New Study


A recent JAMA report said that pregnant women’s cannabis use has risen in the past few years. Another study by Miss Grass found that women are willing to consider cannabis for relief from gynecological concerns. Of the women surveyed, a huge portion said that they made use of cannabis to lower nausea during pregnancy.

With cannabis legalization spreading and more health benefits of the herb coming to the fore, many people have started using the substance. It is common to use cannabis for reducing nausea, and anxiety. Since all seems safe on the surface, pregnant women are also jumping on the bandwagon. But is it entirely okay for them to do so?

Does cannabis use during these nine months have no negative impacts on the mother and child? It does. Several studies do not support the use of cannabis during pregnancy. In fact, a new study says that cannabis use during pregnancy changes the brain of offspring. Scientists from the University of Cagliari conducted research work that the Nature Neuroscience journal published.

Findings Of The Study

For the purpose of this study, the team gave THC to pregnant rats to look at the effects of prenatal cannabis exposure. Researchers analyzed the offspring of the rats during adolescence. The results showed that male offspring of the rats which had been exposed to THC exhibited significant alterations in the brain’s ventral tegmental region’s dopaminergic neurons.

This area of the brain is associated with reward and motivation. To clarify, scientists noted that male offspring had become hyperactive. However, they didn’t find these changes in female offspring. Researchers also found that the offspring of the THC-fed rats was more sensitive to THC. This change in the pre-pulse inhabitation paradigm showed that the behavioral center of the offspring was impaired.

This means the rats were more susceptible to psychiatric disorders. Researchers were able to correct and normalize these changes by giving affected rats the neurosteroid pregnenolone drug. Lead of the researchers, Miriam Melis said that “it is crucial to highlight the immediate and protracted consequences of cannabis exposure on pre- and postnatal development.”

Previous Research

This is not the first study to discuss the negative impacts of using cannabis during pregnancy. Another research, this one the Experimental Biology journal published, found that cannabis exposure in pregnant women can negatively impact the brain of the fetus. Other trails show that cannabis use while pregnant can have detrimental neurological effects on children.

One study also found that cannabis use in pregnant women can up the odds of poor academic performance and cause behavioral challenges. However, scientists still need to carry out more research on the short- and long-term effects of cannabis use in pregnant women.

Sum Up

Cannabis use has increased among pregnant women due to the extensive marketing of its benefits and spreading legalization. However, several studies warn that cannabis use by pregnant women can have detrimental effects on the brain of the fetus. A new research work confirms this by saying that THC can increase risk of psychiatric disorders and hyperactivity in male offspring.


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