Cannabis and tobacco use prior to pregnancy and subsequent offspring birth outcomes: a 20-year intergenerational prospective cohort study

Lindsey A Hines, Elizabeth A Spry, Margarita Moreno-Betancur, Hanafi Mohamad Husin, Denise Becker, Melissa Middleton, Jeffrey M Craig, Lex W Doyle, Craig A Olsson, George Patton

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5 Citations (SciVal)


There is increasing evidence that the life-course origins of health and development begin before conception. We examined associations between timing and frequency of preconception cannabis and tobacco use and next generation preterm birth (PTB), low birth weight (LBW) and small for gestational age. 665 participants in a general population cohort were repeatedly assessed on tobacco and cannabis use between ages 14-29 years, before pregnancy. Associations were estimated using logistic regression. Preconception parent (either maternal or paternal) daily cannabis use age 15-17 was associated with sixfold increases in the odds of offspring PTB (aOR 6.65, 95% CI 1.92, 23.09), and offspring LBW (aOR 5.84, 95% CI 1.70-20.08), after adjusting for baseline sociodemographic factors, parent sex, offspring sex, family socioeconomic status, parent mental health at baseline, and concurrent tobacco use. There was little evidence of associations with preconception parental cannabis use at other ages or preconception parental tobacco use. Findings support the hypothesis that the early life origins of growth begin before conception and provide a compelling rationale for prevention of frequent use during adolescence. This is pertinent given liberalisation of cannabis policy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16826
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Australian Research Council (DP180102447). Data collection for VIHCS was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council; Australian Rotary Health; Colonial Foundation; Perpetual Trustees; Financial Markets Foundation for Children (Australia); Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation; and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. GP is supported by an NHMRC Senior Principle Research Fellowship (APP1117873). Research at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute is supported by the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Program. This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust 209158/Z/17/Z (LH). For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cannabis/adverse effects
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Tobacco Use/adverse effects
  • Young Adult


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