Analyzing the Correlation Between Prenatal THC Use and Issues in Cognitive Development After Birth

Michelle Hsia

Authors:  Michelle Hsia, Kyle Fontaine, Angie Miller, Vishal Ila, Michael Paiva, Marieta Heaton

Faculty Mentor: Marieta Heaton

College:  College of Medicine


As popular use of marijuana increases in the general public, it has become more and more important to look at potentially detrimental effects of its use during pregnancy. Little research has been conducted in this area thus far, and the information gathered from this research could be critical in terms of public health prevention in the future. In this study, neonatal male and female mice will receive subcutaneous injections of THC from P4-P9. This period is equivalent to the human third-trimester, during which the developing cortex and hippocampus are highly vulnerable. Assessing both males and females is important, since gender-linked differences in developmental sensitivity have previously been found during the use of ethanol, and this is a trend we expect to see again. Following P9, I will conduct behavioral rotor rod and water maze testing on both mice who have been injected with THC and mice who have not. I will be blinded during these procedures as to not provide bias. After their conclusion, I will use histology to identify whether or not THC injection has had a detrimental effect on the neurological systems of these mice at the cellular level.

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13 Responses
  1. Valerie Prytkova


    The most beautiful and well-spoken individual… I LOVE how applicable, important, and understandable your research is! You are a ROCKSTAR!!!!


  2. Ashley Castano


    First of all, I am so proud of you! You conducted thought-provoking and informative research with Kyle, Angie, Vishal, Michael, and Marieta. This was an interesting topic that helped inform me of the effects due to cannabis on the CNS during developmental periods. Keep pursuing research and medicine! You’re going to make an incredible physician one day!

    Ashley Castano

    1. Michelle Hsia

      Hi Ashley,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I am so happy to be able to provide any information that might contribute to the dissemination of important scientific inquiry. I know that you are also doing incredible work in research, and I cannot wait to see your finished product as well.

  3. Sophia Paulitz


    This is an interesting and super relevant topic! Would you consider investigating this topic further and, perhaps, investigating the impact of CBD use as well? Great job!

    1. Michelle Hsia

      Hi Sophia,

      This is a fantastic question! CBD use definitely has somewhat less of a stigma surrounding medicinal use. I still think that certain prejudices exist but much less so considering that it does not have the same psychoactive effect that THC does. I would personally love to dive into this research more and answer some questions about whether or not it does have detrimental effects if used prenatally. Thank you so much for your inquiry!

    1. Michelle Hsia

      Hi Dennis,

      The mice used were heterozygous bax +/- breeding pairs on a C57BL/6 background, purchased from the Jackson Laboratory!

  4. Bryn Tolchinsky

    Great work Michelle. This is a very important study as marijuana becomes more widespread in recreational and medical uses. You are awesome!