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Cannabis use during pregnancy does not affect children's cognition

Cannabis is not fetotoxic

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

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

Published this month in the journal Frontiers in Psychology : A large majority of studies on this subject have not found significant statistical differences between children who were exposed to cannabis during their pregnancy and those who were not.

Research has previously established that prenatal cannabis exposure does not appear to have any negative effects on the physical development of children. The question of whether or not it could affect their cognitive development remained somewhat unanswered. By letting medical and legal authorities base their own policies on individual studies that do not show the entire statistical picture and let alone the 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 exposure to cannabis 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 went into reviewed hundreds of studies related to cannabis, its consumption, related to children and focusing on a dozen that specifically addressed prenatal exposure to cannabis and children's cognition.

A review of the total number of statistical comparisons (n ​​= 1) between groups of participants who were exposed to cannabis before birth 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 results appears to be limited since the cognitive performance scores of the groups exposed to cannabis 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 analysis of 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 before birth and the 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 invisible impact, we simply have to wait until they grow up to see a potential deficiency arise"

Conclusion : Current data do not suggest that prenatal exposure to cannabis alone is associated with clinically significant cognitive impairment. However, they warned that these conclusions should be taken with caution and take into account that the subjects had social disparities and were evolving in different environments (urban, rural) as well as educational capacities of different level.

Regarding 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 are aware that they cannot control the most important factors for the birth of their child

Complete study in Forbes

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