Smoking Weed While Pregnant
A new study found that children who are exposed to cannabis in the womb could experience some changes in brain growth. The study on smoking weed while pregnant was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Hanan El Marroun. It was published in the most recent edition of the scientific journal Biological Psychiatry.
In the study, researchers tracked a group of children from the time they were born through to the ages of 6 to 8 years old.
Among that group, 96 of the children were prenatally exposed to tobacco, 54 were exposed to cannabis, and 113 weren’t exposed to either one.
The researchers analyzed MRIs of the children. They were looking specifically at different variables involved with brain growth, size, and development.
After looking at the data researchers found that children exposed to cannabis while in the womb tended to have thicker frontal cortexes.
The frontal cortex is the part of the brain in charge of many complex brain functions such as decision making and social behavior.
“This study is important because cannabis use during pregnancy is relatively common and we know very little about the potential consequences of cannabis exposure during pregnancy and brain development later in life,” said El Marroun.
“Understanding what happens in the brain may give us insights in how children develop after being exposed to cannabis.”
While the results of this study seem to point to a clear pattern, El Marroun also said that more research is needed before we can reach any solid conclusions.
Previous estimates suggest that anywhere from around 2% to 28% of women use cannabis while pregnant.
The Final Hit
But so far, there hasn’t been a lot of research done on the effects of this use.
Some women use cannabis to help cope with things like morning sickness.
And while some doctors say this is OK, others have some concerns.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published a paper about cannabis use and pregnancy.
They said that “pregnant women or women contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy for which there are better pregnancy-specific safety data.”
But this recommendation was tempered with the recognition that more research is still needed.
“High-quality studies regarding the effects of marijuana and other cannabis products on pregnancy and lactation are needed.”