This controversial topic has been discussed by Dr. Stacey Kerr and she has highlighted her personal clinical experience with pregnant women. In her highlight she mentions that; usage of Marijuana may be effective when it comes to pregnancy-related issues such as the distressing morning sickness that occur sometimes. The endocannabinoid system in Marijuana is important to the growth of the fetus and survival of a newborn. According to Stacey, there is no concrete evidence to show that usage of Marijuana can cause complications to pregnant women. During pregnancy; Marijuana should be used carefully with the deep understanding of dosage and purity of the product being consumed.
Dr. Stacey Kerr has attended several births during her career as a family physician and, she also comes from an area where most mothers use Cannabis to treat nausea and, to find relief from stress. According to her studies, there is no reason to believe that use of Marijuana among the expectant mothers lead to any complication. This is not the case with alcohol, Tobacco and other drugs that are known to cause complications if taken during pregnancy. Mothers should understand the difference between abuse and use of Marijuana. Use is when Marijuana is consumed for a specific purpose such as treating nausea and, consumption is done at a controlled dosage, however, abuse has to do more with over-using or overdose.
Lets us focus on the population that uses Marijuana and review whether this has affected the development of their children in any way.
ENDOCANNABINOIDS ARE IMPORTANT
Research has shown that Endocannabinoids created by human body plays a key role in the processes of; fertilization, the growth of the fetus, and survival of a newborn baby. Implantation of embryonal requires temporary and centered decrease the majority of the usually available endocannabinoids in the brain. Another important function is that the Endocannabinoids is necessary for neural growth as it, regulates the splitting or differentiation of stem cell by directing axonal shift and synaptogenesis. The developing brain is shielded by Anandamide against any trauma that may naturally occur. Suckling is very important for the survival of the newborn and it is stimulated and started by CB1 receptors in the neonatal brain.
In a research done in 2011 by Hayatbakhsh and his team, about 2400 out of 25000 women interviewed admitted to having used Marijuana with around 640 saying, they used Marijuana while pregnant. The interviews were able to find that; Use of cannabis during pregnancy greatly and definitely resulted in negative birth outcomes that involved low weight of the child at birth, small size for the child for gestational age and, increased level of admission to the NICU. These findings are not what Dr. Stacey Kerr saw in her community so, she decided to read the research keenly and that is when she noticed that the research by Hayatbakhsh and other members of his team had taken into consideration use of Marijuana with other illicit drugs such as; alcohol and cigarette and, there was also a problem with the interview that must have negatively affected the outcome. Interviews were conducted publicly at a clinic by midwives other than privately and done while women were in a pregnancy state. It is highly unlikely that truth can come out in such an environment and condition. After the interview, Hayatbakhsh did not make a long-term follow up of the mothers so as to, determine the impacts if any, that came with the use of Marijuana during pregnancy, therefore the overall research was weak and findings cannot be said to be reliable.
A study conducted and published in 2011 showed that THC interrupted the natural and endocannabinoid in the fetal brain.CB1 receptors found in the brain are key to the growth of neural pathways in the growing fetus. The study discovered that if THC is present, it will connect to these receptors instead of the endocannabinoids. Another study made in 2015 showed that, the Global Motion Perception which is, the ability to see whole was impaired among children who had been exposed to alcohol and other illicit substances before birth. This improved greatly with exposure to Marijuana as Children exposed to Marijuana without alcohol or other drugs showed, a 50% better Global Motion Perception.
USE OF MARIJUANA AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Use of Marijuana during pregnancy is not necessarily the contributor of poor academic achievement. A research by Goldschmidt showed that children exposed to Marijuana before birth registered low academic performance at 14 years of age, but if we consider other factors such as depression, abnormal IQ test, lack of attention and early use of Marijuana at 14 years, it is difficult to directly point out that, exposure of Marijuana before birth is the root cause of poor academic development.
The relationship between Marijuana use and mental illness was investigated by Harvard University and the Boston VA and, it was found that most mental disorders were related to family history about; schizophrenia, bipolar problems, depression, and drug abuse. Therefore mental illness largely has nothing to do with the use of Marijuana.
A survey was conducted to a community that largely used Marijuana to satisfy their cultural requirements. This community was made up of a group of young adults set out from San Francisco to develop an intentional spiritual community. They created towns and families and as such, babies were delivered inside Tennessee woods. Nearly every person in the community used Marijuana including pregnant women, therefore exposing their children to Marijuana before birth at a high rate. Dr. Stacey Kerr was able to make a follow up with some of the mothers and, she found out that; most of the children exposed to Marijuana are doing well, on the other hand, those that developed mental illnesses and addiction disorders did so mostly due family history of bipolar, schizophrenia and suicides.