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Friday, July 15, 2016

Fetal Cannabis Exposure

The use of any mind altering substance while pregnant is tantamount to playing with fire. Drug and alcohol use can dramatically affect the course of your child's life, causing a long list of problems with their brain. The disclaimers are there, especially with alcohol. Yet, every day babies are born exhibiting signs that the fetus was exposed to either drugs or alcohol.

In recent years there has been a lot of buzz about neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a condition that can occur when a fetus is exposed to opioid narcotics, such as prescription painkillers or heroin. Babies exhibiting signs of NAS require intensive care which can last for weeks. This is needed so that the baby can safely withdraw from the opioid narcotics with as much ease as possible. Sadly, there is not much research available regarding the long term effect of fetal opioid exposure.

More and more states have become marijuana friendly in recent years, which means that the number of people using the drug is likely to go up in the coming years. It also stands to reason that many expecting women will expose their child-to-be to marijuana.

Lack of research on marijuana until recently has left a lot of questions unanswered regarding the effects of marijuana across the board. However, new research suggests that fetal exposure to cannabis can result in abnormal brain structure, MNT reports. The consequences could mean long-term mental health problems. The findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

"This study is important because cannabis use during pregnancy is relatively common and we know very little about the potential consequences of cannabis exposure during pregnancy and brain development later in life," says lead researcher Dr. Hanan El Marroun, of Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands. "Understanding what happens in the brain may give us insights in how children develop after being exposed to cannabis."

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