Cannabis use during pregnancy does not affect children's cognition

Cannabis is not fetotoxic

After decades of pregnancy studies, the body of evidence suggests that prenatal cannabis exposure does not lead to cognitive impairment. Despite the paucity of data demonstrating the pronounced negative effects of prenatal cannabis exposure, public opinion and policies still reflect the belief that cannabis is fetotoxic. Children and their parents routinely face separation and other forms of punishment due to legal and medical policies regarding prenatal cannabis exposure and the idea that cannabis use during pregnancy can be developmentally damaging. children. According to all the research held to date, there is no evidence to support this false assumption.

Researchers at Columbia University, the New York State Institute of Psychiatry, and Swinburne University have found that prenatal cannabis exposure does not lead to cognitive impairment in children, in fact. based on data from decades of studies on this issue.

Published this month in the journal Frontiers in Psychology : a large majority of studies on this topic have not found statistically significant differences between children who have been exposed to cannabis during pregnancy and those who have not.

Research has previously established that prenatal cannabis exposure does not appear to have negative effects on the physical development of children. Whether or not it could affect their cognitive development has remained somewhat unanswered. By letting medical and legal authorities base their own policies on individual studies that don't show the full statistical picture and let alone clinical implications for children in real life, the data has been skewed over time.

“Thus, this article addresses an important gap in our scientific knowledge in that the results should shed light on the extent to which prenatal cannabis exposure produces clinical consequences on the offspring. which could have important public health and policy implications. ”

To examine the statistical implications of all the existing data on prenatal cannabis exposure to date, researchers Dr Ciara A. Torres, Dr Carl L. Hart, Christopher Medina-Kirchner and Kate Y. O'Malley took a look at reviewed hundreds of studies relating to cannabis, its use, relating to children, and focusing on dozens that specifically addressed prenatal cannabis exposure and children's cognition.

A review of the total number of statistical comparisons (n ​​= 1) between groups of participants who were exposed to cannabis prenatally and unexposed controls revealed that those who were exposed performed differently for a minority of cognitive results (worse for <001% and better for <3,5%). The clinical significance of these findings appears to be limited because the cognitive performance scores of the cannabis-exposed groups were overwhelmingly within the normal range when compared to normative data adjusted for age and education.

“Overall, we found a total of 1 statistical comparisons between the groups of participants who were exposed to cannabis during pregnancy and the unexposed controls and despite analyzing studies for thirty years, we conclude that the evidence does not support an association between prenatal cannabis exposure and clinically relevant cognitive deficits, ”researchers wrote. In general, they wrote: "The studies reviewed show that there are subtle differences in cognitive performance between children who had been exposed to the drug prenatally and controls, but the conclusions drawn sometimes go too far beyond the actual data. . "

“There is a possibility, that even if children are born healthy and without disabilities and there is an unseen impact, we would just have to wait until they get older to see a potential impairment arise”

Conclusion : Current data do not suggest that prenatal cannabis exposure alone is associated with clinically significant impairments in cognitive functioning. However, they cautioned that these findings should be taken with caution and take into consideration that subjects have social disparities and operate in different environments (urban, rural) as well as different educational abilities.

With regard to cannabis, alcohol or other consumption choices but also other factors such as the environment, pollution and chlorinated products in your water, it is essential that pregnant women be aware that they cannot control the most important factors for the arrival of their child

Complete study in Forbes

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