A Longitudinal Study of Prenatal Marijuana Use: Effects on Sleep and Arousal at Age 3 Years

Ronald E. Dahl, Mark S. Scher, Douglas E. Williamson, Nadine Robles, Nancy Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Objective: To test the hypothesis that sleep disruptions would be evident in 3-year-old children with a history of prenatal marijuana exposure. Design: A prospective study using stratified random sampling beginning in the fourth month of pregnancy. Marijuana and other substance use were assessed by interviews at multiple time points. Offspring were followed up through age 3 years with multidomain assessments at fixed time points, including electroencephalographic sleep studies in the newborn period and at age 3 years. Setting: Primary care, prenatal clinic at a university hospital. Subjects: The sample included 18 children with prenatal marijuana exposure (mean [±SD] age, 39.0±4.4 months) and 20 control children (mean [±SD] age, 39.7±4.4 months). The two groups were similar in relationship to maternal age, race, income, education, or maternal use of alcohol, nicotine, and other substances in the first trimester. Main Outcome Measure: Sleep variables from polysomnographic recordings at age 3 years. Results: Children with prenatal marijuana exposure showed more nocturnal arousals (mean [±SD], 8.2±5.3 vs 3.2±4.6; P <.003), more awake time after sleep onset (mean [±SD], 27.4±20.0 vs 13.7±12.4 min; P<.03),and lower sleep efficiency (mean [±SD], 91.0±3.8 vs 94.4±2.1; P<.03) than did control children. Conclusion: Prenatal marijuana exposure was associated with disturbed nocturnal sleep at age 3 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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