Researchers at the University of Washington are about to embark on one of the most controversial studies in history: studying the effects of marijuana on babies throughout a pregnancy.
The primary focus of the study will be to see the effects of marijuana on an unborn infant’s brain development, according to Komo News. The “Moms + Marijuana” study intends to scan the infants’ brains around the 6-month mark to see if there is any interference on development due to mom’s marijuana use during pregnancy. The researchers will also review the babies’ motor development, cognitive development, overall health and social behaviors.
Dr. Natalia Kleinhans said, “This study is targeting a very specific population of women who are using marijuana to manage their symptoms while they’re pregnant. There’s little research to back up the medical and public health advice they’re getting to stay away from pot to control nausea.”
Dr. Kleinhans and Dr. Stephen Dager are searching for 70 women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Thirty-five of the women chosen will be in a “test and control cohort” situation. The control group can’t use any substances such as tobacco, alcohol or marijuana. The test cohort group will use marijuana twice weekly, mostly for morning sickness assistance.
Dr. Kleinhans said, “The very few investigations that have studied prenatal cannabis exposure and infant brain development have all involved women who are polysubstance drug users. No one has looked at marijuana use exclusively. This study will also involve periodic drug testing during pregnancy to verify in real time that moms aren’t using other drugs, rather than relying on the mother’s self-report after the child is born.”
Those participating in the cohort portion of the study have to obtain their marijuana from licensed marijuana businesses. Photos of the products purchase must be provided to the researchers so that the amounts of THC and CBD can be tracked.
Those interested in participating in the study can visit the study’s webpage.