While there is ai rising tendency among people to consider smoking marijuana harmless or even beneficial, a study suggests that it can be very harmful for pregnant women or who are breastfeeding. The study claims that such women should shun it altogether.
Ample evidence of potential harm to children’s long-term development because of marijuana was cite din a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
This warning assumes significant in the US and elsewhere because more than half of the states of the country have or are in the process of legalizing recreational and medicinal marijuana use as are some other countries.
According to researchers, there is enough evidence to suggest that there can be both short-term growth and long-term neurological consequences for children from the use of marijuana. This was published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.
“Women should definitely be counseled that it’s not a good idea to use marijuana while pregnant. If you’re breastfeeding, we would encourage you to cut back or quit,” said Seth Ammerman, a co-author of the report and professor of pediatrics at Stanford.
“The benefits of breastfeeding would outweigh the potential exposure to the infant,” in case a breastfeeding mother does not stop using it.
The accumulation in breast milk of TCH – the molecule that gives marijuana most of its psychoactive effects, can remain in a mother for even up to 6 days after the usage, claimed another study also published in Pediatrics.
There are no safety warnings for pregnant women even on marijuana that is legally sold unlike alcohol and cigarettes.
“There’s a myth out there that it’s benign. And for many adults who are sporadic users, that’s probably true. But in these circumstances it may be harmful,” said Ammerman.
The researchers are also concerned about the fact that since 1983, the potency of THC in marijuana has more than quadrupled. And according to the report, a number of the largest studies were done at a time when the conducted potency was much lower.
“A lot of women may be getting the info from online media and from marijuana dispensaries. As health professionals, we need to educate women that there are a lot of concerns both for the fetus and for later development,” said Kelly Young-Wolff, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, who was not involved in the Pediatrics studies.
But it can be challenging to convince women about the dangers of cannabis use during pregnancy. “A lot of the public equates legalization with some kind of endorsement of safety. Of course, that’s not true,” said Dana Gossett, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California-San Francisco.
“Just because something is plant-based or natural doesn’t make it safe.” Arsenic, added Gossett, is also a natural substance.
(Adapted from ScientificAmerican.com)