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Marijuana also known as weed, herb, pot, grass, ganja is made from the shredded and dried parts of the cannabis plant. It is controversial drug with research demonstrating both its harms and health benefits. Marijuana is often used for recreational proposes in differ parts of the world. While marijuana use is not legal in India, consumption of bhang or thandai (edible preparation of cannabis) is allowed during some religious rituals and festivals such as Holi and Maha Shivratri. Bhang is legally sold by government shops during these festivals. With the increasing utilization of marijuana in society, marijuana use during pregnancy is also becoming more common, researchers pointed out in a study published in JAMA Pediatrics. But the drug can be harmful for both mother and the newborn. The study authors found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana, can stay in breast milk for up to six weeks. However, the concentrations of THC varied from woman to woman, depending on their level of marijuana use during pregnancy, BMI and metabolism.
Reasons for their inability to abstain from marijuana use included stress, sleep and pain relief, according to the study, conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital Colorado (Children's Colorado). The finding provides further evidence to support the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine to avoid marijuana use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
There is a growing movement worldwide to legalise cannabis. But opponents of the move argue that legalisation of marijuana use can lead to misuse, addiction, and withdrawal syndrome. Below are some health effects of marijuana use during pregnancy:
Studies have shown that children born to mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy can have long-term issues with cognitive and executive functioning. They may have trouble with memory, attention, controlling impulses, and school performance.
Three large-scale longitudinal studies came out with consistent results on the effect of maternal cannabis use on child's development. According to the researchers, children of marijuana users were more impulsive and hyperactive, and exhibited behavioral issues, lower IQ scores, and memory problems compared to children of non-users.
In 2016, an international research led by the University of Adelaide had found a direct link between continued marijuana use during pregnancy and pre-term birth. The study published online in the journal Reproductive Toxicology said that continued marijuana use through to 20 weeks' gestation is independently associated with a five-fold increase in the risk of pre-term birth. The researchers suggested that more than 6 percent of pre-term births could be prevented if women stop using marijuana during pregnancy.
A University of Colorado Boulder study suggested that marijuana use while pregnant can increase risk of children's sleep problems a decade later. The study, published in Sleep Health: The Journal of The National Sleep Foundation, highlighted that as many as 7 per cent of moms-to-be use marijuana while pregnant, and sadly, the number is rising rapidly as more pregnant women are using it to quell morning sickness.
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