The metabolic changes that ultimately lead to gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) likely begin before pregnancy. Cannabis use might increase the risk of GDM by increasing appetite or promoting fat deposition and adipogenesis.
We aimed to assess the association between preconception cannabis use and GDM incidence.
We analysed individual-level data from eight prospective cohort studies. We identified the first, or index, pregnancy (lasting ≥20 weeks of gestation with GDM status) after cannabis use. In analyses of pooled individual-level data, we used logistic regression to estimate study-type-specific odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), adjusting for potential confounders using random effect meta-analysis to combine study-type-specific ORs and 95% CIs. Stratified analyses assessed potential effect modification by preconception tobacco use and pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI).
Of 17,880 participants with an index pregnancy, 1198 (6.7%) were diagnosed with GDM. Before the index pregnancy, 12.5% of participants used cannabis in the past year. Overall, there was no association between preconception cannabis use in the past year and GDM (OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.79, 1.18). Among participants who never used tobacco, however, those who used cannabis more than weekly had a higher risk of developing GDM than those who did not use cannabis in the past year (OR 2.65, 95% CI 1.15, 6.09). This association was not present among former or current tobacco users. Results were similar across all preconception BMI groups.
In this pooled analysis of preconception cohort studies, preconception cannabis use was associated with a higher risk of developing GDM among individuals who never used tobacco but not among individuals who formerly or currently used tobacco. Future studies with more detailed measurements are needed to investigate the influence of preconception cannabis use on pregnancy complications.