Smoking marijuana while pregnant may harm the developing brain of a fetus, say researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.
In tests on mice, the researchers found that marijuana can affect molecules essential to a signaling process that plays a role in normal brain development. The researchers also found that certain prescription drugs, including some used to treat obesity, can have a similar effect, BBC News reported.
"Our findings highlight that the integrity of this signaling system should be maintained and not disrupted if the brain is to develop normally," said Professor Tibor Harkany. "Anything that disrupts this process ... could ultimately affect the brain's functionality."
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Previous research has suggested that children born to women who used marijuana while pregnant experienced problems with physical activity, BBC News reported.