Beware of cannabis during pregnancy

Exposure to THC or CBD during pregnancy could lead to a higher risk of childhood obesity or high blood sugar, a new US study warns.

«We must take this article as a building block in building the House of Knowledge, but most importantly not as a foundation, for otherwise it would make a somewhat shaky house.“But Dr. Richard Bélanger from the CHU de Québec Research Center reacted immediately.

Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health analyzed the urine of around 100 pregnant women for cannabis metabolites. They found trace amounts of THC and CBD in the urine of 15% of them. These measurements were taken in the middle of pregnancy, at a time when women couldn’t help but notice that they were pregnant.

Researchers report in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that women who had used cannabis during their pregnancy were more likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby. At the age of five these children were”moderatelythicker and heavier than children not exposed to marijuana. They also had higher blood sugar.

However, according to Dr. Bélanger, the researchers would have initially recruited about 1400 mother-child pairs, and they don’t really explain why their conclusions are ultimately based on only a hundred women. He also points out that nothing is known about factors like diet and physical activity that might affect children’s weight and blood sugar levels.

«There were several steps that are not present in our ladder, so we can certainly climb them‘ he started.

On the other hand, he welcomes the researchers’ use of a quantitative tool (the analysis of metabolites) rather than a subjective one (a questionnaire that would have been presented to the mothers) to examine the question. He also points out that such multi-year longitudinal studies are complex and expensive to carry out.

Anyway, Dr. Bélanger continued that the study has the merit of drawing attention to a topic that should be of interest and concern many parents.

«You should not think that young mothers or older mothers who take drugs, sometimes for their own reasons, sometimes for medical reasons, to alleviate or alleviate certain things, do so with joy and then with full knowledge that their child is hurting, he said. We need these studies to inform them properly so they can make an informed choice.»

Several studies, including some in Canada, have looked at the effects of cannabis use on the fetus in recent years.

A study like this highlights the need, even today, despite the legalization of cannabis, to deepen our understanding of the health effects of its consumption, Dr. Belanger.

«Even though studies on cannabis and its health effects began in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, to this day, in 2022, there are still vast fields that remain unexplored and it doesn’t benefit Canadian families, he said in conclusion.

«From there, there’s always interest in such highly eloquent stuff, especially when a product has been legalized; we have to keep looking at the possible effects that these products (…) could have on children’s health.»

Jean-Benoit Legault, The Canadian Press

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