What is marijuana?

  • Marijuana is derived from the hemp plant, cannabis sativa1
  • It contains THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana1
  • It can be smoked using a cigarette, a pipe, or an empty cigar.  It can also be mixed into foods1
  • Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug by people over age 12, and in pregnant women 2,3

What are the medical consequences of marijuana use?

  • Hallucinations4
  • Paranoia4
  • Increased heart rate4
  • Pulmonary effects4
         Increased risk of pulmonary infection
  • Decreased memory4
  • Social issues like relationship or career problems4

What are the medical consequences of marijuana use in pregnancy?

  • Data is inconsistent3
  • Decreased birth weight5
  • May be associated with increased risk of depression in neonate6
  • May be associated with increased risk for marijuana use as an adult for neonate6
  • Excessive maternal weight gain7

  1. Office of National Drug Control Policy.  Street Terms: Drug and Drug Trade.  Retrieved November 15, 2010 from 
  2. Agrawal, A. et al (2009). Simultaneous Cannabis and Tobacco use and Cannabis-Related Outcomes in Young Women [Electronic Version]. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 101, 8-12.
  3.   Wendell, A.D (2013). Overview and epidemiology of substance abuse in pregnancy. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 56. 91-96.
  4. Drug Facts: Marijuana.  Retrieved January 15, 2014 from The National Institute on Drug Abuse Web site:
  5. Schneider, M (2009). Cannabis Use in Pregnancy and Early Life and its Consequences: Animal Models [Electronic Version]. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci, 259, 383-393.
  6. Gray, T.R. et al (2010). Identifying Prenatal Cannabis Exposure and Effects of Concurrent Tobacco Exposure on Neonatal Growth [Electronic Version]. Clinical Chemistry 56:9, 1442-1450.
  7. Van Gelder, M. et al (2010).  Characteristics of Pregnant Illicit Drug Users and Associations between Cannabis and Perinatal Outcome in a Population Based Study [Electronic Version].  Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 109, 243-247. 
January, 2014