Scientists Find That Heavy Marijuana Use As an Adolescent Can Cause Problems in Pregnancy

A study done by researchers at the University of Bristol has found that using marijuana frequently as a teenager could cause pregnancy issues in the future. Marijuana use as an adolescent can lead to premature births and a low birth weight which can cause further health problems as the child grows.

The study also investigated how tobacco use in adolescents can affect pregnancy in the future. Researchers found that tobacco had the same effects.

How the researchers conducted the study

To reach this conclusion, the researchers gathered 665 male and female participants aged 14-29 before having a child. They then observed their children after they gave birth later and used the data to establish a link between frequent marijuana use and health risks to the child.

The results showed that male and female participants over 29 and who had frequently used cannabis at 15-17 years old were more likely to have a child born prematurely or one with low birth weight. Researchers found that about 20% of premature births among the volunteers occurred in parents who had heavily used cannabis in their adolescence.

More research is needed as cannabis continues to be legalized

According to a study author, Dr. Lindsey Hines, marijuana is commonly used among adolescents. Scientists have in the past linked cannabis use among adolescents to poor mental health. The study shows another adverse effect of the drug on young people. As many countries continue to legalize cannabis, adolescent use might increase, thus the need to create policies to protect them

The study is not the first to investigate the effect of cannabis on pregnancy. Unlike the others, this study looks into the impact of the drug years, about 20 years before people decide to have children.

George Patton is another study author and Professorial Fellow in Adolescent Health Research with the University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. He adds that as cannabis continues to be legalized for industrial and political reasons, it is crucial to conduct more research on its effect on adolescents.

Researchers note that they need to carry out more studies to find out what biological mechanism causes this and to compare outcomes in women and men

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