Pregnant women need to be extremely mindful of what they put into their bodies. And, one thing that many wonder about is legal marijuana consumption and how it impacts the woman and her baby. A new study from the University of Denver aims to answer that question.
Due to the dearth of marijuana research in the United States, there is a “limited understanding” of how cannabis impacts pregnant women and their babies “if they are exposed to cannabis inside the womb,” said Pilyoung Kim, the professor of psychology at the University of Denver, who is leading the research.
Professor Kim Wanted To Answer Women’s Questions About Weed
Kim said she decided to seek funding and approval for the study, not because pregnant women were being cautious about marijuana use, but, in fact, because it has been the exact opposite.
In a statement, she said that women would come to her and ask, “It’s OK to use cannabis while you’re pregnant, right?” To which no one has a scientific, research-backed answer, according to the professor.
“We legalized cannabis, but we are still pretty far behind in terms of actual impact of that drug on different populations,” Kim said. She has received funding for the research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She is now a year into the project.
How Does One Study The Effects Of Cannabis On Pregnant Mothers And Their Babies?
Obviously, the key to this kind of research is to find mothers who have decided to go ahead and use cannabis, even though they are pregnant. Kim and her team have found a group of such women. They also have formed a second group of pregnant women who do not use cannabis, to see how research my differentiate between the two.
The team is collecting data from both groups. Once the babies are born, both the mother and the baby will undergo an MRI to determine if those who used cannabis have any difference in brain structure and function development than those women who did not use while pregnant.
“This is going to be really beneficial for moms in this situation,” Kim said. “They are motivated to do their best for their baby, and they have a right to access all the right kind of information.”
The announcement of the study seemed well timed, as the U.S. Senate launched hearings this month about the impact of marijuana on health. The hearings were held by the Senate International Narcotics Control Caucus, and co-chaired by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Dianne Feinstein of California, two politicians about as diametrically opposed in their views as possible.
Called the “Marijuana and America’s Health: Questions and Issues for Policy Makers,” the hearing allowed federal officials and members of academia to speak about the potential health uses and risks of cannabis, which has opened a new conversation about the plant and industry as a whole when dealing with health.