Smoking cannabis during pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of children developing stress, anxiety, and aggressiveness. Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and the City University of New York came to this conclusion after doing an extensive study. The findings of the research were published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publication (PNAS).

Cannabinoid is known to play a role in regulating stress, which is why some individuals use cannabis to relieve anxiety and relax. However, the use of cannabis during pregnancy may have the opposite effect: children who come into contact with cannabis during pregnancy have greater levels of anxiety, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity than children who have not come into contact with cannabis during pregnancy.

In this research, 322 mother-child couples were observed and evaluated. Those who participated were taking part in a long-term research on stress during pregnancy in New York City, which began in 2007. A difference in the time gap between heartbeats in infants born to mothers who used cannabis is connected with higher susceptibility to stress, according to the research. This was discovered via the measurement of hormone levels and cardiac function in a stressful setting.

The researchers also discovered that children who had been exposed to cannabis before birth had greater levels of anxiety than the general population. Cannabis usage during pregnancy has been shown to inhibit immunoactivating genes in the offspring, according to an RNA study of placental tissue taken at the time of delivery. A greater level of anxiety is also related to this.

The researchers also express their dissatisfaction with the public discourse over cannabis. The negative consequences of cannabis usage are grossly underreported. According to Yasmin Hurd, head of the Institute for Addiction Research at Mount Sinai and the main author of the research, “pregnant women are inundated with the idea that cannabis has no hazards.” “The fact is that cannabis is more effective now than it was a few years ago,” Hurd added. It is necessary to provide greater education and more precise information regarding the hazards of cannabis usage during pregnancy.

Marijuana for recreational use is legal in Canada, Uruguay, and a few states in the United States.

Betsy Wilson

A true science nerd and pediatric nursing specialist, Betsy is passionate about all things pregnancy and baby-related. She contributes her expertise to the Scientific Origin.