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Oliver G Isik  1 Ling Guo  1 Andrew J O Whitehouse  2 Guohua Li  1   3 Caleb Ing  1   3

PMID: 37283466 DOI: 10.1111/ppe.12987


Background: The effect of prenatal marijuana exposure (PME) on child neurodevelopment remains poorly understood. Prior studies have demonstrated inconsistent results.

Objectives: This study evaluated the association between PME and neuropsychological test scores in late childhood and early adulthood, accounting for a wide range of parental characteristics.

Methods: This study evaluated participants from the Raine Study, a cohort of 2868 children born between 1989 and 1992. Children whose mothers provided information on marijuana use during pregnancy were included. The primary outcome was the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) at age 10. Secondary outcomes included the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND), Coloured Progressive Matrices (CPM), Symbol Digit Modality Test (SDMT) and Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) scores. Exposed and unexposed children were matched by propensity score using optimal full matching. Missing covariate data were imputed using multiple imputation. Inverse probability of censoring weighting (IPCW) was used to adjust for missing outcome data. Linear regression within matched sets, adjusted by IPCW, evaluated score differences between exposed and unexposed children. As a secondary analysis, modified Poisson regression, adjusted by match weights and IPCW, evaluated the risk of clinical deficit in each outcome following PME.

Results: Of the 2804 children in this cohort, 285 (10.2%) had PME. After optimal full matching and IPCW, exposed children scored similarly on CELF Total (-0.33 points, 95% confidence interval [CI] -4.71, 4.05), Receptive (+0.65 points, 95% CI -4.08, 5.38) or Expressive (-0.53 points, 95% CI -5.07, 4.02). PME was not associated with secondary outcomes or risks of clinical deficit in any neuropsychological assessments.

Conclusions: After adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical covariates, PME was not associated with worse neuropsychological test scores at age 10 or autistic traits at 19-20.

Keywords: cannabis; drugs; marijuana; neurodevelopment; prenatal; the Raine Study.