Prevalence of gestational exposure to cannabis in a Mediterranean city by meconium analysis

Acta Paediatr. 2007 Dec;96(12):1734-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00535.x. Epub 2007 Oct 22.


Aim: To investigate the prevalence of in utero exposure to cannabis in a cohort of 974 mother-infants dyads from Barcelona (Spain).

Methods: A validated gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric assay was used for meconium analysis.

Results: Prenatal exposure to cannabis was detected in 5.3% newborns; however, only 1.7% of the participating mothers disclosed gestational drug use. Ethnicity was not associated with cannabis use, nor were the maternal features or newborns somatometry. A significantly higher percentage of cannabis using mothers had a managerial professional job versus nonusers.

Conclusions: Meconium analysis is especially important to identify neonates who have been exposed to cannabis in utero, which appear normal at birth and therefore may not be recognized. Timely detection of these newborns at risk provides the basis for appropriate treatment and adequate medical and social follow-up.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomarkers / chemistry
  • Cannabinoids / analysis*
  • Cannabis*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology*
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Meconium / chemistry*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Biomarkers
  • Cannabinoids