There’s minimal scientific information about the potential effects of the different drugs which pregnant mothers are discouraged from taking, but cannabis is singled out and given a very negative connotation even if there’s no proof to show whether it is as dangerous, or more dangerous, than pharmaceutical drugs. To set the record straight, researchers from the University of Washington are now recruiting study subjects to research how cannabis use during pregnancy affects babies after they are born.
The “Moms + Marijuana” study will document pregnant mothers’ use of marijuana from the first trimester of pregnancy until birth. The babies born will then have their brains scanned at six months of age to determine how prenatal marijuana use affects the cognitive, psychomotor and behavioral development of infants.
The study is focusing on pregnant women who are already using cannabis to manage the conditions, such as nausea, which they are suffering from during pregnancy. The objective is to find scientific proof either in support of, or contradicting the advice given to pregnant women to abstain from using marijuana.
To this end, the researchers are on a drive to recruit 70 pregnant women who are still in the first trimester of pregnancy. Half of these women will be in the test group while the other half will be in the control group.
Those in the control group will not be allowed to take any cannabis, tobacco or alcohol while those in the test group will be allowed to consume marijuana at least two times each week. The marijuana will be used to control morning sickness.
The researchers intend to conduct random drugs tests throughout the study in order to confirm that the pregnant women aren’t using any other drugs apart from what they are self-reporting to the researchers.
The test group of pregnant women are required to report their weekly marijuana use, and that marijuana can only be bought from licensed sources. The women will also send photos of the cannabis package so that the THC and CBD concentration in that marijuana will be recorded.
When the babies of the research subjects reach six months of age, they will be tested to establish their social and cognitive development, their motor and communication skills, their temperament and other behavioral markers.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans will also be done while the babies are asleep. During those scans, the babies will be exposed to an odor of phenyl-ethanol. This substance is known to activate the sections of the brain which are associated with addiction and reward. The researchers want to use these scans to assess how prenatal marijuana use affects this part of the brain.
Once all this data has been collected, the researchers will compare the findings from the two groups and determine what role marijuana has had on the development of the babies. Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF) hope that this research will provide conclusive proof of whether prenatal cannabis use should or shouldn’t be recommended.
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