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[Short- and long-term consequences of prenatal exposure to cannabis].

[Article in French]

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  • 1Département d'Addictologie et de Psychiatrie, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Villejuif.



Cannabis is one of the most commonly used drugs by pregnant women. The objective of this review of literature was to examine the association between cannabis use during pregnancy and effects upon growth, cognitive development (memory, attention, executive functions...) and behavior of newborns, children and teenagers.


We searched for articles indexed in the medline database from 1970 to 2005. The following terms were used in the literature search: cannabis/marijuana, pregnancy, fetal development, newborn, prenatal exposure, neurobehavioral deficits, cognitive deficits, executive functions, cannabinoids, reproduction. Most of the articles were published in English.


Cannabis use during pregnancy is related to diverse neurobehavioral and cognitive outcomes, including symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, deficits in learning and memory, and a deficiency in aspects of executive functions. It seems difficult to identify complications, such as lower birth weight, only attributable to cannabis as opposed to the multiple perinatal complications associated with tobacco smoking.


In addition to alcohol and cigarettes, information should be given to women about the potentially harmful effects on fetal development, newborns, children and teenagers of smoking cannabis. Therefore, it seems necessary to develop prevention programs on this subject.

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