advertisement
Home » News » Marijuana Use May Danger Pregnancy

Marijuana Use May Danger Pregnancy

A new study warns that marijuana use at the time of conception and early in pregnancy may cause the pregnancy to fail. Researchers believe tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychoactive component of marijuana, causes impaired fertility by disturbing the natural balance of a molecule responsible for normal embryonic development.

In a study of mice, scientists from Vanderbilt University found THC and drugs that act in a similar fashion prevent the embryos’ safe passage from the ovary to the uterus. If a similar action is found in humans, an ectopic pregnancy and/or impaired fertility in women may result.

The study appears in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Marijuana, the most widely used illegal drug among women of reproductive age, binds to 2 receptors – cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1, CB2) – which are found in the brain and other organs including sperm, eggs, and newly formed embryos. Normally, these 2 receptors are activated by the naturally occurring signaling molecule anandamide. Anandamide formation by the enzyme NAPE-PLD is carefully balanced with its degradation by the enzyme FAAH, resulting in a finely tuned local “anandamide tone” in embryos and the oviduct. This balance is required for normal embryonic development, transport along the oviduct, implantation in the uterus, and full-term pregnancy.

In the current study, Sudhansu Dey and colleagues from Vanderbilt University show that suppression of FAAH activity in the embryos and oviduct elevates anandamide levels, which inhibits embryonic development and prevents embryos from completing their passage to the uterus, causing impaired fertility.

They went on to show that administration to the mice of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychoactive component of marijuana that like anandamide also binds to CB1, swamps normal anandamide tone, causing implantation of the embryo in the earliest stages of pregnancy to fail. The results of the study show that drugs such as THC persist and swamp these finely tuned signaling systems and as such the use of THC-containing drugs such as marijuana may lead to ectopic pregnancy and/or impaired fertility in women.

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Marijuana Use May Danger Pregnancy

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Marijuana Use May Danger Pregnancy. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2006/08/04/marijuana-use-may-danger-pregnancy/153.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.