Study will examine prenatal marijuana use on infant development

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine are recruiting pregnant women to participate in their “Moms + Marijuana” study.

The study will analyze whether prenatal marijuana use — primarily to control nausea, and in the absence of alcohol, tobacco and any illicit drugs — affects their child’s brain development and cognitive, motor and social skills.

The research will be co-led by Drs. Natalia Kleinhaus and Stephen Dager in UW’s Department of Radiology.

“The very few investigations that have studied prenatal cannabis exposure and infant brain development have all involved women who are polysubstance drug users. No one has looked at marijuana use exclusively,” said Kleinhaus. “This study will also involve periodic drug testing during pregnancy to verify in real time that mom’s aren’t using other drugs, rather than relying on the mother’s self-report after the child is born.”

Kleinhaus and Dager will track the subjects’ marijuana use from the first trimester throughout pregnancy, then scan infants’ brains at six months to identify possible effects of cannabis exposure.

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