Cannabis during pregnancy bumps psychosis risk in offspring

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Pregnant women who use cannabis may slightly increase the risk their unborn child will develop psychosis later in life, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

"Our research shows that prenatal exposure after maternal knowledge of is associated with a small increase in psychosis proneness during middle childhood or about age 10," said Jeremy Fine, an undergraduate majoring in psychological & brain sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University and the study's lead author.

The findings come on the heels of several national studies documenting a dramatic increase in marijuana usage by , including a 2018 study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis that found past-month marijuana use among in the United States increased by 75 percent between 2002 (2.85 percent) and 2016 (4.98 percent).

As more states legalize medicinal and recreational use of cannabis, other reports suggest that many marijuana dispensaries commonly suggest cannabis as a natural cure for pregnancy related nausea.

This latest study, published March 27 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, suggests that pregnant women should be discouraged from using cannabis at any time in their pregnancy because so little is yet known about its health effects.

But its findings also raise new concerns that prenatal exposure to cannabis may pose a greater risk after the fetal brain begins to develop a receptor system for endocannabinoids, which are part of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter network through which cannabis affects the brain.

"One possible explanation for the finding of increased psychosis risk for marijuana use following, but not before, knowledge of pregnancy is that the endocannabinoid receptor system may not be in place during the early weeks of pregnancy," said Ryan Bogdan, associate professor of psychological & and senior author of the paper. "Prenatal cannabis exposure may be associated with later psychosis proneness in offspring only when there is sufficient fetal endocannabinoid type 1 receptor expression, which may not occur until after many mothers learn they are pregnant."

Bogdan, who directs the Washington University BRAIN Lab where the research took place, said these latest findings build on other basic research suggesting that endocannabinoid signaling may contribute to processes, such as neurogenesis and neural migration, that play important roles in early development of brain structure and connections.

"This study raises the intriguing possibility there may be developmental windows during which cannabis exposure may be more likely to increase psychosis risk," he said.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the principal psychoactive component of marijuana, mimics our body's endocannabinoids and binds to endocannabinoid receptors to exert its effects. Various studies have confirmed that THC crosses the placental barrier to gain access to the developing fetus.

"Data from rodent studies suggest that the endocannabinoid type 1 receptor, through which the psychoactive effects of THC largely arise, is not expressed until the equivalent of 5-6 weeks of human gestation," Fine said. "Given that mothers in our study on average learned of their pregnancy at 7.7 weeks, it is plausible that any impact of THC on psychosis risk would not arise until sufficient endocannabinoid type 1 receptors are expressed."

The BRAIN Lab findings are based on data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, an ongoing longitudinal study of child health and brain development with data collection sites throughout the nation. They used data from the initial ABCD baseline data release which included survey responses from 3,774 mothers about marijuana usage during 3,926 pregnancies. Risk of psychosis in the 4,361 children born from these pregnancies between 2005 and 2008 was measured using a questionnaire administered to the children between ages 8.9 and 11 years.

Among the 4,361 children sampled in this study, 201 (4.61 percent) were reported to have been exposed to marijuana before birth. Of these, 138 were exposed only before mothers knew they were pregnant; two were exposed only after the mother knew she was pregnant.

Bogdan and his co-authors acknowledge that the study has many limitations, including the small sample of prenatal cannabis-exposed offspring; potential maternal underreporting of use during pregnancy; imprecise data on timing, amount, frequency and potency of cannabis exposure; absence of data on whether childhood psychosis proneness is associated with conversion to psychosis; and lack of data on some potential confounders, such as maternal stress and genetic risk of psychosis among parents.

"Our research is correlational and as such cannot draw causal conclusions," said Allison Moreau, study co-author and a graduate student in psycholody at Washington University. "However, that the relationship between prenatal marijuana exposure following maternal knowledge of pregnancy was associated with offspring psychosis proneness after accounting for potentially confounding variables—such as maternal education, prenatal vitamin usage, prenatal alcohol and nicotine use, child substance use, and so on—increases the plausibility that prenatal cannabis exposure may contribute to a small risk of increased psychosis liability in children."

The study provides further evidence that expectant mothers should think twice before considering cannabis usage during pregnancy.

"Given increasing cannabis accessibility and potency, as well as growing public perceptions that it's safe to use, it is critical for additional research to understand the potential adverse consequences and benefits of cannabis throughout development and how these associations may arise." Bogdan said. "In the meantime, evidence that prenatal marijuana use is associated with a small increase in offspring psychosis proneness suggests that marijuana use during pregnancy should be discouraged until more is known."


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Journal information: JAMA Psychiatry

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Mar 27, 2019
This entire study was based upon 4,361 children and data gathered from self-reporting mothers, and it reaches its conclusions based upon the outcomes of two individual children? How can this conclusion be styled "scientific?" The days of "reefer madness" are long gone, that ship has sailed, that train has left the station, that sheep has left the pen.

Mar 27, 2019
This entire study was based upon 4,361 children and data gathered from self-reporting mothers, and it reaches its conclusions based upon the outcomes of two individual children? How can this conclusion be styled "scientific?" The days of "reefer madness" are long gone, that ship has sailed, that train has left the station, that sheep has left the pen.


While the study is limited based on sample size, stating that the study reached conclusions based on 2 individuals is inaccurate as there were 63 datapoints in the group you are referring to.

https://jamanetwo.../2729440

Mar 27, 2019
but hey dude, like, weed cures everything dude... hey dude, pass the fentanyl

Mar 27, 2019
Parental Psychiatric Disease and Risks of Attempted Suicide and Violent Criminal Offending in Offspring
A Population-Based Cohort Study
Pearl L. H. Mok, PhD1; Carsten Bøcker Pedersen, DrMedSc2,3,4; David Springate, PhD5; et al Aske Astrup, MSc2,3; Nav Kapur, MD1; Sussie Antonsen, MSc2,3; Ole Mors, MD, PhD4,6; Roger T. Webb, PhD1
Author Affiliations Article Information
JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(10):1015-1022. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.1728
Incidence rate ratios were the most elevated for parental diagnoses of antisocial personality disorder (suicide attempt, 3.96; 95% CI, 3.72-4.21; violent offending, 3.62; 95% CI, 3.41-3.84) and cannabis misuse (suicide attempt, 3.57; 95% CI, 3.25-3.92; violent offending, 4.05; 95% CI, 3.72-4.39), and for parental suicide attempt (suicide attempt, 3.42; 95% CI, 3.29-3.55; violent offending, 3.31; 95% CI, 3.19-3.44).


Mar 28, 2019
The days of "reefer madness" are long gone

Keeping telling yourself that and ignore the fact that most of the studies on cannabis usage show a detrimental effect: increased risk of psychosis, violent behavior, etc. Hardly surprising for a psychotropic drug. All the studies touting beneficial effects (actually only a handful) are either poorly designed or not replicable. As for its "medicinal" benefit to moderate chronic pain, studies show no difference to common non-prescription analgesics.

Mar 29, 2019
The days of "reefer madness" are long gone

Keeping telling yourself that and ignore the fact that most of the studies on cannabis usage show a detrimental effect: increased risk of psychosis, violent behavior, etc. Hardly surprising for a psychotropic drug. All the studies touting beneficial effects (actually only a handful) are either poorly designed or not replicable. As for its "medicinal" benefit to moderate chronic pain, studies show no difference to common non-prescription analgesics.

Studies upon cannabis users don't show a significant increase in negative health or wellness effects and do show a significantly less harmful effect upon public health than dangerous drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and refined sugars. Beyond that, we have generations of users who, after decades, are living proof that it is not harmful in the way Nixon and the hard right demand they must be. One difference from analgesics: no kidney failure or other toxic harm from cannabis.

Apr 01, 2019

Studies upon cannabis users don't show a significant increase in negative health or wellness effects and do show a significantly less harmful effect upon public health than dangerous drugs like alcohol, tobacco, and refined sugars. Beyond that, we have generations of users who, after decades, are living proof that it is not harmful...


Could you please point to the studies suggesting that cannabis use is not associated with negative health outcomes?

I would also be interested in hearing your opinion about studies such as:

https://www.ncbi....30408351

https://www.pnas....full.pdf

There is no doubt that prescription drugs, legal illicit drugs such as alcohol, as well as sugar, etc. have also been associated with negative health outcomes. People should be cautious in their use. However, that does not mean that potential negative effects of other substances should be ignored. We need more research to understand neg and pos.

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