What are the risks of using marijuana while pregnant? According to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, children whose mothers used marijuana after the fifth or sixth week following conception are in danger of developing mental health problems in early youth.
The study looked at data from over 10,000 children aged 11 and 12 who were exposed to marijuana in utero. The alarming results suggested that those children were more prone to develop disorders such as ADHD, aggressive behavior, conduct disorder and rule-breaking behavior.
“The take-home message from this study is that there is some evidence that one should be cautious about using cannabis during pregnancy,” David Baranger, a postdoctoral research associate at Washington University in St. Louis and the study’s first author, said.
However, Baranger emphasized that new findings are not proof that cannabis causes mental health problems.
The new results build on earlier research. A study published in Nature Medicine in 2020 found that Canadian mothers who used cannabis during pregnancy were slightly more likely to give birth to a child with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. To that end, U.S. researchers conducted a small study last year, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealing that cannabis use during pregnancy can affect the placenta and may be connected to higher levels of anxiety, aggression and hyperactivity in children.
However, with roughly half of expecting mothers experiencing nausea during early pregnancy, the number of those opting to try marijuana is rising. Pregnant women find cannabis helpful in gaining weight as an alternative to conventional pharmaceutical drugs.
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, together with researchers from Oregon’s Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation, found that many women switched from anti-emetics to marijuana to treat nausea, as they are not effective in treating this condition.
Photo: Courtesy of Peter Pike by Pixabay and Dhemer Gonçalves by Pexels
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