A new study conducted by a group of international researchers has found cannabis use during pregnancy endangers development of the unborn child’s brain.
According to the Karolinska Institute in Sweden–one of the medical schools involved in the study–the study shows “consuming cannabis during pregnancy clearly results in defective development of nerve cells of the [fetus’] cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that orchestrates higher cognitive functions and drives memory formation.”
Researchers indicated the effects would be long-lasting–possibly lifelong–and may not materialize until well after the child is born.
Researchers also noted that as marijuana plants are increasingly cultivated to contain greater levels of THC, the risk posed to unborn children rises as well.
“During the past decades, selective agriculture of Cannabis spp. resulted in increased THC content at the expense of cannabidiol (Pitts et al, 1992; Pijlman et al, 2005). In the context of the present study, this is of particular concern since we predict that higher THC concentrations will be, upon efficient cross‐placental transfer (Grotenhermen, 2003), increasingly detrimental for fetal development and postnatal health. Therefore, irrespective of the legal status of cannabis, caution must be exercised to hinder fetal cannabis exposure due to its unequivical impact on the establishment of synaptic connectivity in neuronal networks underpinning memory encoding, cognition and executive skills.”