Giving medical cannabis to infants is a difficult taboo to shift, but new research is paving the way. The launch of a clinical trial examining the use of CBD in newborns suffering from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (brain damage caused by lack of oxygen) means new hope for the million plus babies born each year with this condition.
“My name is Zoe Sigman, and I’m the Program Director at Project CBD, an educational nonprofit focused on cannabis science & medicine. Ten years ago, we introduced CBD to the medical cannabis community in California. It spread like wildfire and has become the hugely popular phenomenon that it is today.
Project CBD submitted this public comment, composed by Adrian Devitt-Lee, to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which administers the Proposition 65 Program. Approved as a 1986 ballot measure, Proposition 65 requires the state to maintain and update a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
«What about the children?» is a mantra that has been used to propel prohibition with misplaced fear. Scientists and politicians increasingly warn about the dangers of using cannabis during pregnancy. There’s only one issue: data doesn’t back them up. But a lack of evidence has never stopped the tides of prohibition. Unable to demonstrate that cannabis is actually harmful, public officials nevertheless warn that women are now more likely to report using cannabis during pregnancy (which partly reflects greater comfort talking to doctors, not greater use).
A new study from researchers at San Diego State University examined the interaction between cannabinoids and alcohol on the fetus. The scientists used pregnant rats to avoid the ethical implications of exposing babies to drugs. Fetal alcohol exposure impaired coordination and motor control of the rats, which lasted throughout adolescence. But CP-55,940 — a synthetic cannabinoid much more powerful than THC — did not affect motor control. It slightly reduced weight a week after birth, but this returned to normal by the rats’ adolescence.
There is little evidence to show a directly harmful effect of cannabis in pregnancy. However, cannabinoids consistently amplify the toxic effects of nicotine and alcohol on the fetus. Preclinical research suggests one possible reason: activating the CB2 receptor with anandamide can decrease the expression of a transporter gene in the placenta. This gene encodes a protein which pumps a variety of chemicals out of the placenta, so its inhibition allows toxins to accumulate. It is also common in cancers where it protects the cancer from chemo.
A mother’s diet while she’s pregnant is known to affect the child’s eventual food preferences. A new animal study from scientists in the U.S. and Brazil examines how a high-fat diet during pregnancy influences the offspring’s predisposition to obesity and related complications later in life, and this appears to be mediated by changes in the endocannabinoid system. The researchers showed that the biochemical response to a high fat diet depends on whether the offspring was male or female.
A new article from the California Department of Pesticide Regulations (CDPR) warns of the dangers of cannabis because it may be contaminated with organophosphate pesticides (e.g. chlorpyrifos, glyphosate). The CDPR walks through what could happen if a pregnant woman uses chlorpyrifos-contaminated cannabis.