THC Use During Pregnancy May Have Long-Lasting Effects On The Children’s Health

Oregon Wellbeing and Science College analysts showed that consuming THC while pregnant might actually influence improvement of the hatchling and lead to deep rooted wellbeing influences for posterity.

The preclinical study has been published in Clinical Epigenetics today.

The main psychoactive component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is gaining popularity and availability in the United States. Additionally, the rate of marijuana use during pregnancy is rapidly rising, particularly in the first trimester -; a time when the fetus is most susceptible to exposure to the environment; to alleviate common symptoms, such as morning sickness. Due in part to a lack of safety data, the potential effects of cannabis use during pregnancy on fetal development remain uncertain. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential long-term health effects of using THC while pregnant.

OHSU researchers found that exposing a pregnant subject to THC altered the placental and fetal epigenome in a non-human primate model. This included the chemical modifications to DNA that are responsible for gene regulation and expression, which tell genes what to do, where to do it, and when. Additionally, the researchers discovered that these alterations in gene expression and regulation are akin to those seen in numerous common neurobehavioral conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder.

Researchers administered THC in a daily edible to nonhuman primates in a model and compared its effects to those of a placebo-treated group. The epigenetic changes in a few key areas that indicate healthy prenatal development were specifically examined by researchers: the placenta – ; the tissue disc that connects the uterus and umbilical cord – fetal heart, brain, and lung.

Analyses revealed that THC exposure altered the epigenome—a process by which a gene’s information is transformed into a function or observable trait—in these areas. Genes -; the DNA segments that make up -; are explicitly coded to add to various elements of the body and cerebrum, so any effect on epigenetic processes because of medication openness is disturbing, particularly during a basic formative window like pregnancy.

Genes associated with common neurobehavioral disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder underwent significant changes, according to the researchers. Poorer memory and verbal reasoning abilities, as well as increased hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention, are all linked to these conditions’ negative health effects in childhood and adolescence.

The research team, which includes Jason Hedges, M.D., Ph.D., Eliot Spindel, M.D., Ph.D., Elinor Sullivan, Ph.D., Owen McCarty, Ph.D., and Jason Hedges, Ph.D., hopes that the findings of this study will help guide patient counseling and future public health policies on cannabis.

The study’s corresponding author, Jamie Lo, M.D., M.C.R., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology (maternal-fetal medicine), OHSU School of Medicine, and Division of Reproductive and Developmental Sciences at the ONPRC, stated, “It’s not common practice for providers to discuss cannabis use with patients who are pregnant or trying to conceive.” I trust our work can assist with opening up a more extensive discourse about the dangers of pot use in the bias and pre-birth period, so we can work on kids’ wellbeing over the long haul.”

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