Research Alert: Cannabis and Pregnancy

Recently, University of Washington radiologist Dr. Natalia Kleinhans and her partners decided that more research was needed on cannabis use and pregnancy. The team started the first study ever to keep track of cannabis use in the first trimester. Whereas in the past studies have focused on concurrent drug use in pregnancy, this will specifically look at cannabis use by itself.

Dr. Kleinhans told High Times, “This study is targeting a very specific population of women who are using marijuana to manage their symptoms while they’re pregnant.”

They will not only be looking at potential cognitive outcomes by screening the babies after birth, they’ll also be tracking how cannabis can potentially treat or manage pregnancy-related side effects.

This is huge, as there are few reliable and safe treatments for many of the less savory parts of the process, and even less known about how cannabis can affect a fetus and the life of a child down the line. Cannabis is currently used as a tool of oppression for people who give birth, especially for Black and Latinx women and poor working-class people of all races who give birth. Having a clearer image with quantifiable data on what really happens to a child who has been exposed to prenatal cannabis is an important tool in the legalization playbook.

When concluded, Dr. Kleinhans and the team at the University of Washington will hopefully further illuminate the process to the benefit of both pregnant people and their infants.

Emerald contributor since May 2017

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