A literature review of the consequences of prenatal marihuana exposure.


P.A. Fried, A.M. Smith

Published in Neurotoxicology and teratology

January-February 2001



In spite of marihuana being the most widely used illegal drug among women of reproductive age, there is a relative paucity of literature dealing with the neurobehavioral consequences in offspring–particularly the longer-term effects. However, there is a degree of consistency in the limited data, both across cross-sectional reports and longitudinally, where offspring have been followed for a number of years. Two cohort studies fall into the latter category; one involving a low-risk sample and, the other, a high-risk sample. Global IQ is not impacted by prenatal marihuana exposure but aspects of executive function (EF)–in particular, attentional behavior and visual analysis/hypothesis testing–appear to be negatively associated with in utero cannabis exposure in children beyond the toddler stage. This hypothesized influence of prenatal marihuana on EF is examined and discussed relative to effects (or lack of effects) across different ages in the offspring, cannabinoid receptors, and the extant general marihuana and prefrontal literature.


DOI: 10.1016/s0892-0362(00)00119-7



Fried PA, Smith AM. A literature review of the consequences of prenatal marihuana exposure. An emerging theme of a deficiency in aspects of executive function. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 23(1):1-11. doi:10.1016/s0892-0362(00)00119-7