It’s a very touchy subject. However, it’s something that definitely occurs, and I think that it would be better to take an objective approach to the issue instead of trying to keep it taboo like many cannabis opponents would prefer. There are a lot of unfounded claims on anti-cannabis websites ran by cannabis opponents. Whenever someone looks for something more objective, most roads lead back to a study that was conducted in 1991 that looked at Jamaican children who had mothers that consumed marijuana during pregnancy. The abstract of that study is below:
This research provides data on the development of 59 Jamaican children, from birth to age 5 years, whose mothers used marijuana during pregnancy. Approximately one-half of the sample used marijuana during pregnancy and were matched with non-users according to age, parity, and socioeconomic status. Testing of the children was done at 1, 3, and 30 days of age with the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scales and at ages 4 and 5 years with the McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities. Data about the child’s home environment and temperament were collected from direct observations as well as from standardized questionnaires. The results show no significant differences in developmental testing outcomes between children of marijuana-using and non-using mothers except at 30 days of age when the babies of users had more favourable scores on two clusters of the Brazelton Scales: autonomic stability and reflexes. The developmental scores at ages 4 and 5 years were significantly correlated to certain aspects of the home environment and to regularity of basic school (preschool) attendance.
A lot has happened since 1991, and considering that a big part of the 1991 study involved the home environment, there are a number of reasons why there needs to be a newer study. The University of Colorado announced recently that it would be launching a study which will look at children born to mothers that admit to using marijuana during pregnancy. Mothers have been using cannabis while pregnant for various reasons and in various ways for many decades. However, recently more and more mothers are admitting to it as the taboo surrounding marijuana use in general continues to erode. Per The Denver Channel:
Researchers a the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus will ask new mothers to take a questionnaire about marijuana use.
If the patient consents, researchers will also take a sample of the umbilical cord upon delivery to determine if the mother did use marijuana through pregnancy and to what extent.
“Although physicians tell women they should not use marijuana in pregnancy, it is difficult to provide them with data to support the recommendation,” researchers said.
For better or worse, there needs to be solid information out there for pregnant mothers to use to educate themselves. No one benefits from putting their heads in the ground on this issue and just refusing to talk about it. I’m very interested to hear what the study has to say, and to hear more about what methodology is going to be involved. As more information is released, I’ll make sure to cover it.