Smoking today's high-potency marijuana, or using syntehtic forms of weed, can be dangerous in the very early weeks of pregnancy, causing damage to the developing embryo's brain. If you are pregnant, or planning to get pregnant, you might want to avoid smoking pot, researchers suggest.
Smoking pot can affect the fetal brain as early as two weeks after conception, the study found.
Early studies that showed no adverse effects of smoking marijuana for pregnant women were conducted with smokers of "traditional" marijuana, according to researchers at Texas A&M University. But today's strains of bioengineered weed can contain up to 20 times the THC.
Furthermore, the fake weed products known as K2 or Spice, contain highly potent TCH analogues, or synthetic cannabinoids, which are 500-600 times more potent than THC.
These extremely potent drugs, used during early pregnancy, can led to a condtion called anencephaly, when babies are born without large parts of their brain or skull, the Texas A&M researchers found.
Brain Damage to Fetus
Additionally, exposure to high-potency marijuana or synthethic marijuana during pregnancy can lead to:
- Attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder
- Learning disabilities
- Memory problems in toddlers and 10-year-olds
- Agression, anxiety and depression in teens
These adverse effects can take place very early in the pregancy, the reseachers said.
Unaware of the Dangers
"These psychoactive chemicals have the ability to interfere with the first stages in the formation of the brain of the fetus; this event occurs two weeks after conception, earlier than before signs of pregnancy appear," said co-author Dr. Delphine Psychoyos in a news release. "By the time a woman realises she is pregnant and stops taking these substances it may already be too late for her unborn child."
Young smokers are not aware of the dangers, Dr. Psycholyos said.
Not Your Father's THC
"This is because many websites on mothering and pregnancy, and those run by pro-marijuana advocacy groups, base their discussions on data collected prior to 1997, when no detrimental affects on pregnancy had been reported; It is important to note here that prior to 1997, pregnant women were mostly exposed to low potency, 'traditional' marijuana, which was the common form of marijuana in the market in the 1970's and early 1980's."
The researchers suggest that teenagers and young women need to be more aware of the dangers and health risks of high potency marijuana and fake weed.
Source: Psychoyos, D, et al. "Marijuana, Spice 'herbal high', and early neural development: implications for rescheduling and legalization." Drug Testing and Analysis 13 August 2012.
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