Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant-Prenatal Exposure to Cannabis Affects the Developing Brain | The Scientist Magazine®

Many women therefore want to know whether it is safe to take the stuff during pregnancy, and face a dearth of evidence to guide them. The use of cannabis by pregnant women is on the rise. A study in a Californian health-care system suggests uptake increased from 2. Such use is by no means simply recreational. Medical cannabis is employed in many places to control nausea and vomiting, so pregnant women have turned to it to treat morning sickness.

Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant

Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant

Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant

Given all these uncertainties, nursing mothers are discouraged from using marijuana. CB1Rs are present in the human cerebrum by the first weeks of the second trimester, and Kellie picklers tits studies have shown that CB1R knockout mice show significant behavioral problems. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications for marijuana dependence. Smoking marijuana also can damage your lungs. With a growing national and global acceptance of marijuana use, research on the effects of cannabis exposure during pregnancy is more urgent now than ever. Below are relevant articles that may interest you. The therapist works with you to adjust them so you can overcome damaging thoughts and Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant patterns to achieve and maintain sobriety. Ratione ipsa excepturi quae cum magnam quibusdam quos quam pariatur, libero veritatis aut harum, laborum similique optio natus, nulla possimus necessitatibus soluta! Karolinska Institutet. Materials provided by Karolinska Institutet.

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View the discussion thread. Seventh ed. Share this article Share. Breathing secondhand smoke during pregnancy can also affect your baby's health, increasing the risk of:. Do You Live with Anxiety? How to Fall Asleep in 10, 60, or Seconds. These aberrations appear during infancy and persist through adulthood and are tied to changes in the expression of multiple gene families, as well as more global measures of brain responsiveness and plasticity. Taking a closer look, he found that the number of binding sites for endocannabinoid had increased, and that axons were more likely to clump together. In one study Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant 27 women who used cannabis daily during breastfeeding, no differences in growth, mental and motor development were noted in this study population. Marijuana moon rocks are the latest trend in high-THC cannabis products. Mar ;16 1 8. Try one of these 10 great options! Researchers found the smokers were at double the risk of having a premature birth than non-users. Free pictures erect panis marijuana use affect driving?

Marijuana has been legalized in some capacity in 31 U.

  • Seventy five percent of these cases report the use of marijuana.
  • W e live in a medicated era.
  • Doctors have warned women not to smoke cannabis during pregnancy after a landmark study found those who do face double the average risk of going into labour prematurely.
  • A new study sheds light on how THC causes damage to cells in the growing brain.

W e live in a medicated era. Recent data indicate that more than half of Americans are currently taking prescription drugs. Among pregnant women this number skyrockets to more than 80 percent. One of these women was a year-old from California named Carol, whom I met and befriended through an online drug research forum. After weeks of debilitating morning sickness, persistent pain in her back and hips, and chronic anxiety about becoming a mother, Carol was taking a tranquilizer called alprazolam as needed, plus daily doses of acetaminophen and an anti-nausea drug called metoclopramide.

Carol felt uneasy using the medications. Like many Americans and an even greater proportion of Europeans, Carol who asked that I not use her surname favors home remedies over pharmaceutical treatments. And so, as she sought relief during her pregnancy, she turned to marijuana. In the summer of , Carol was surrounded by people touting the wonders of cannabis as a panacea for diseases from depression to glaucoma and myriad ailments in between—including nausea, pain, and anxiety.

Worried that her suboptimal diet and poor sleep could be affecting the development of her child, she considered using small amounts of cannabis instead of the multiple prescription medications suggested by her doctor. Epidemiologists are looking into the concerns of parents such as Carol. Various large-scale longitudinal research projects in both North America and Europe, ranging from several hundred to thousands of subjects, on cannabis use during pregnancy point to a number of potential consequences, including hyperactivity, in children.

The problems start early—exposed infants are more likely than unexposed babies to have low birth weights and to spend time in neonatal intensive care. And troubles can last into adulthood. Higher rates of depression and drug abuse are among the health issues most commonly linked with maternal cannabis use.

Research that can address the causal nature of these links is still in its infancy, however. The status of cannabis as a Schedule I substance in the US makes it tough to get approval for experiments. For this and other reasons, research on the incorporation of the drug in Western medicine is relatively new as well. This means that conventional health practitioners receive little, if any, information that they can pass onto their patients, including those considering the use of cannabis during pregnancy.

And about 4 percent of pregnant women in the US report using the drug during gestation, just like Carol. Of expectant moms between the ages of 18 and 25, this number is nearly 7.

With a growing national and global acceptance of marijuana use, research on the effects of cannabis exposure during pregnancy is more urgent now than ever. Researchers identified cannabinoids as one group of pharmacologically active compounds in marijuana in , but it was another half a century before they confirmed the existence of an endocannabinoid system ECS. Over the course of about three years in the early s, neuroscientists discovered the first cannabinoid receptor CB1R in mammals, cloned both the rat and human variants, and identified a second cannabinoid receptor CB2R.

Later, the first endogenous cannabinoid was identified and named anandamide after the Sanskrit word for bliss. Researchers have since characterized a second primary endocannabinoid, 2-AG, known to bind these receptors, plus a host of additional endogenous molecules that interact in other ways with the ECS.

Scientists have also identified the enzymes that synthesize and degrade these compounds along with a number of additional putative cannabinoid receptors. These interact with the ECS to cause an altered psychological state, and mediate myriad other effects the drug in both the brain and the body.

When marijuana is ingested or smoked during pregnancy, exogenous cannabinoids enter the blood and cross easily through the placental barrier due to their highly lipophilic nature.

Pairing this ready availability with slow pharmacokinetics—active metabolites continue circulating for up to five days depending on dosage and frequency of use—fetal exposure to the active compounds in cannabis is both efficient and prolonged. It should therefore be expected that this exposure can profoundly influence the development of the ECS.

To date, the three largest longitudinal studies of the children of women who smoked marijuana once a week or more during their pregnancies have identified remarkably consistent outcomes during early development and through young adulthood. In infants, these include increased impulsivity, hyperactivity, and delinquent behaviors, as well as memory dysfunction and decreased IQ scores. During adolescence and early adulthood, fetal cannabis exposure has been linked to persistent reduction in memory and concentration, higher rates of drug use, and an increased incidence of hyperactivity, signs of depression, and psychotic and schizophrenic-like symptoms.

These mental health issues are further evidenced by increased reports from both parents and schoolteachers of problematic behavior and delinquency in cannabis-exposed kids.

One of the three large-scale projects, the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study , which began following approximately pregnant cannabis users in , has tracked nearly of the offspring from the neonatal period into adulthood, and has identified persistent effects ranging from changes in cortical function to higher rates of drug abuse even in maturity, compared with controls.

In men, for example, regular use of marijuana as well as daily tobacco use are both more than twice as likely for those exposed to cannabis in the womb. Data on adults from the two other longitudinal studies—the Generation R study in the Netherlands that is currently tracking nearly 8, children and the Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Study at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh that is following teenagers—have yet to emerge.

But with the persistent and significant changes already seen at multiple ages across nations, spanning economic and social strata, more links between human health and maternal cannabis use would not be surprising. The nature of the relationship remains unclear, however. Moreover, quantifying marijuana intake is riddled with challenges—the potency of cannabis, as well as the ratio of various active cannabinoids that it contains, is extremely variable, for example—so researchers cannot yet say with confidence how doses of the drug influence these correlations.

Now, researchers in the laboratory are linking observations concerning mental health with biological mechanisms involved in cannabis use to get a better handle on the risks of using the drug while pregnant. To root out the cellular and molecular mechanisms that might underlie the epidemiological patterns seen in humans exposed to cannabis in utero, researchers are turning to experiments with rodents. Researchers now know that the ECS plays a significant role in the development of the central nervous system, and perturbations to this system in developing mice and rats are associated with lasting disruptions to cell differentiation and neuronal migration, critical steps in the formation of a functional brain.

CB1Rs are present in the human cerebrum by the first weeks of the second trimester, and many studies have shown that CB1R knockout mice show significant behavioral problems.

Large-scale, longitudinal studies of humans whose mothers smoked marijuana once or more per week and experimental work on rodents exposed to cannabinoids in utero have yielded remarkably consistent intellectual and behavioral correlates of fetal exposure to this drug.

Some exposed individuals exhibit deficits in memory, cognition, and measures of sociability. These aberrations appear during infancy and persist through adulthood and are tied to changes in the expression of multiple gene families, as well as more global measures of brain responsiveness and plasticity.

Researchers currently consider these perturbations to be mediated by changes to the endocannabinoid system caused by the active compounds in cannabis. In , Hui-Chen Lu of Baylor College of Medicine and colleagues investigated the role of endocannabinoids in the so-called handshake hypothesis of cortical development, which posits that developing brain regions that form reciprocal connections produce a signal indicating their meeting. This process, which is now well characterized, allows neurons in these areas to act as scaffolds, guiding each other to their respective destinations and linkage partners.

Using mice that had CB1R knocked out of specific brain regions, Lu and collaborators found that axons connecting the cortex to the thalamus or vice versa require the activation of CB1Rs to arrive at their respective destinations.

Although it might appear counterintuitive, stimulation of CB1R by the exogenous cannabinoids in marijuana might eventually result in less cannabinoid signaling by that cell. For example, exogenous cannabinoids cause CB1Rs to be rapidly internalized by the cell or otherwise to be desensitized in a more drastic manner than is seen with endocannabinoids, in order to avoid overactivating downstream signaling pathways.

Embryonic exposure to cannabis is thus expected to downregulate CB1R function, leading to a reduction in the efficacy of normal endocannabinoid functions. Indeed, Tibor Harkany at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and colleagues found that THC displaces endocannabinoids from CB1Rs in the brains of rat pups in utero, resulting in temporarily reduced CB1R function and altered levels of nearly three dozen proteins in the fetal brain. Our group, led by Olivier Manzoni , is particularly interested in how in utero cannabis exposure alters the mammalian prefrontal cortex, a brain region critical for executive functions ranging from decision making to the moderation of social behavior.

The prefrontal cortex starts developing during the first trimester of gestation in mammals and continues to mature into early adulthood, making it an area with one of the longest periods of vulnerability to developmental insult. Earlier this year, our laboratory published work demonstrating that rats whose mothers were given low-dose THC or an analogous synthetic cannabinoid while pregnant showed significant changes in synaptic plasticity and altered levels of several important proteins lasting well into adulthood.

We found that the consequences of these changes manifested as a reduced sociability in the exposed offspring. Male rats in particular were much less likely to approach, play with, or sniff other rats.

These findings parallel sociobehavioral changes seen in young adult humans exposed to cannabis during gestation. And scientists are now linking those effects to changes in the brain that are similar to what we observed in rats. Using functional MRI technology, for example, researchers participating in the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study observed a reduction in activity in the prefrontal cortices of adult offspring of mothers who smoked marijuana during pregnancy.

This drop was associated with decreased working memory, echoing the attentional problems and memory dysfunction seen as early as infancy. Cannabis is also likely to affect the amygdala, which is critical for emotional development. In , Yasmin Hurd of the Karolinska Institute and colleagues identified a significant reduction in dopamine D2 receptor mRNA in the amygdalae of fetal brains that correlated with the reported quantity of cannabis consumed by their mothers.

Located at the presynaptic terminal of neurons, CB1R is activated by endocannabinoids, which are synthesized from fatty acids in the postsynaptic neuron. The function of CB2Rs in the brain is still poorly understood, but there is some evidence that they exist both pre- and post-synaptically, as well as on glia and astrocytes. When people smoke or ingest marijuana, exogenous cannabinoids enter the nervous system and activate these receptors. Stimulation by these high-affinity agonists results in stronger binding and greater activation of CB1R, triggering the process of receptor downregulation.

Specifically, the greater binding causes the receptors to be internalized and degraded, such that they are no longer as available for cannabinoid signaling, and can thereby alter neuronal firing and other downstream events. While we do know for certain that THC and other cannabinoids in marijuana are transferred to the fetus, there is also the possibility that CB1R activation in the mother causes hormonal or other downstream signaling changes that affect the developing fetus.

Another question researchers are currently trying to answer is how cannabis affects males and females differently. Surprisingly, some of the documented effects of in utero cannabis exposure are sexually divergent. The drop in dopamine receptor mRNA in the amygdalae of cannabis-exposed fetuses, for example, was much greater in male offspring, though a similar, but not statistically significant trend was found in females, according to the data.

And the recent paper from our lab found specific changes to social behavior only in male mice. Conversely, the Generation R study found that girls were more likely than boys to exhibit increased aggression and impaired attention if their mothers had smoked marijuana while pregnant. In rodents, other effects, such as persistent changes in synaptic function and mRNA expression in adulthood, are found in both sexes.

More research is needed to understand what drives these differences. The problem of infant cannabis exposure extends well beyond pregnancy. Once again, due to variable potency of cannabis in addition to other factors, knowing the exact amount of THC that enters the infant remains an open question.

However, preliminary results from our lab indicate that even small quantities—such as those used for therapeutic rather than recreational purposes—cause significant and lasting changes in neuronal development in rats, including delayed maturation of prefrontal cortex networks.

As researchers work to untangle the nuances of how in utero and perinatal exposure to cannabis can lead to lasting changes in behavior and cognitive function, they are accumulating significant evidence pointing to aberrant changes in the developing brain.

As the public and governments become increasingly tolerant of marijuana, we expect an uptick in research data, with cannabis users more likely to report their consumption. Already, the legal status and availability of cannabis in the United States has led to the publication of human studies that were previously difficult or impossible to conduct.

Just last year, researchers in Colorado, where recreational cannabis use by adults has been legal since , studied the birth outcomes of more than 3, cannabis users and found a significantly higher rate of cannabis use during pregnancy than national estimates or than has been reported in regions where the drug remains illegal. Whether this is due to availability or changes in social acceptance is difficult to ascertain, but the trend is clear: as cannabis use becomes increasingly acceptable and widespread, maternal use is likely to follow suit.

Research and public education must now be prioritized to inform future opinions on the safety, or lack thereof, of consuming cannabis during pregnancy, as well as during breastfeeding. Cannabis and the prenatal brain Researchers identified cannabinoids as one group of pharmacologically active compounds in marijuana in , but it was another half a century before they confirmed the existence of an endocannabinoid system ECS.

Exogenous cannabinoids in an endogenous system To root out the cellular and molecular mechanisms that might underlie the epidemiological patterns seen in humans exposed to cannabis in utero, researchers are turning to experiments with rodents. A Lifetime of Consequences? Related Articles.

Samet JM, et al. For instance, if you quit for a certain length of time, use what you would have spent on cigarettes to buy something for the baby. Unfortunately, many women do pick back up smoking after they give birth, which can lead to health problems for the mother and potentially secondhand smoke issues for a newborn. Although the brain differences caused by THC exposure are fairly subtle, Harkany warns that their minds' inherent instability is what leaves children at greater risk for developing certain psychiatric conditions later in life. In testing the baby mice and their motor skills, researchers found movement problems among the group exposed to cigarette smoke, not unlike the same motor skill delays seen in cerebral palsy. Children whose mothers use marijuana during pregnancy have a higher risk of stunted growth and of developing ADHD, anxiety, and depression later in life.

Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant

Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant. Cannabis and the prenatal brain

What are marijuana's effects? How does marijuana produce its effects? Does marijuana use affect driving? Is marijuana addictive? What are marijuana's long-term effects on the brain?

Is marijuana a gateway drug? How does marijuana use affect school, work, and social life? Is there a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders? What are marijuana's effects on lung health? Is marijuana safe and effective as medicine? What are the effects of secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke?

Ordering Publications Call or:. Cite this article. Featured Publications. Opioids: Facts Parents Need to Know. Opioid Facts for Teens. It should therefore be expected that this exposure can profoundly influence the development of the ECS. To date, the three largest longitudinal studies of the children of women who smoked marijuana once a week or more during their pregnancies have identified remarkably consistent outcomes during early development and through young adulthood.

In infants, these include increased impulsivity, hyperactivity, and delinquent behaviors, as well as memory dysfunction and decreased IQ scores. During adolescence and early adulthood, fetal cannabis exposure has been linked to persistent reduction in memory and concentration, higher rates of drug use, and an increased incidence of hyperactivity, signs of depression, and psychotic and schizophrenic-like symptoms.

These mental health issues are further evidenced by increased reports from both parents and schoolteachers of problematic behavior and delinquency in cannabis-exposed kids. One of the three large-scale projects, the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study , which began following approximately pregnant cannabis users in , has tracked nearly of the offspring from the neonatal period into adulthood, and has identified persistent effects ranging from changes in cortical function to higher rates of drug abuse even in maturity, compared with controls.

In men, for example, regular use of marijuana as well as daily tobacco use are both more than twice as likely for those exposed to cannabis in the womb. Data on adults from the two other longitudinal studies—the Generation R study in the Netherlands that is currently tracking nearly 8, children and the Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Study at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh that is following teenagers—have yet to emerge.

But with the persistent and significant changes already seen at multiple ages across nations, spanning economic and social strata, more links between human health and maternal cannabis use would not be surprising. The nature of the relationship remains unclear, however. Moreover, quantifying marijuana intake is riddled with challenges—the potency of cannabis, as well as the ratio of various active cannabinoids that it contains, is extremely variable, for example—so researchers cannot yet say with confidence how doses of the drug influence these correlations.

Now, researchers in the laboratory are linking observations concerning mental health with biological mechanisms involved in cannabis use to get a better handle on the risks of using the drug while pregnant. To root out the cellular and molecular mechanisms that might underlie the epidemiological patterns seen in humans exposed to cannabis in utero, researchers are turning to experiments with rodents.

Researchers now know that the ECS plays a significant role in the development of the central nervous system, and perturbations to this system in developing mice and rats are associated with lasting disruptions to cell differentiation and neuronal migration, critical steps in the formation of a functional brain.

CB1Rs are present in the human cerebrum by the first weeks of the second trimester, and many studies have shown that CB1R knockout mice show significant behavioral problems. Large-scale, longitudinal studies of humans whose mothers smoked marijuana once or more per week and experimental work on rodents exposed to cannabinoids in utero have yielded remarkably consistent intellectual and behavioral correlates of fetal exposure to this drug.

Some exposed individuals exhibit deficits in memory, cognition, and measures of sociability. These aberrations appear during infancy and persist through adulthood and are tied to changes in the expression of multiple gene families, as well as more global measures of brain responsiveness and plasticity.

Researchers currently consider these perturbations to be mediated by changes to the endocannabinoid system caused by the active compounds in cannabis. In , Hui-Chen Lu of Baylor College of Medicine and colleagues investigated the role of endocannabinoids in the so-called handshake hypothesis of cortical development, which posits that developing brain regions that form reciprocal connections produce a signal indicating their meeting.

This process, which is now well characterized, allows neurons in these areas to act as scaffolds, guiding each other to their respective destinations and linkage partners. Using mice that had CB1R knocked out of specific brain regions, Lu and collaborators found that axons connecting the cortex to the thalamus or vice versa require the activation of CB1Rs to arrive at their respective destinations.

Although it might appear counterintuitive, stimulation of CB1R by the exogenous cannabinoids in marijuana might eventually result in less cannabinoid signaling by that cell. For example, exogenous cannabinoids cause CB1Rs to be rapidly internalized by the cell or otherwise to be desensitized in a more drastic manner than is seen with endocannabinoids, in order to avoid overactivating downstream signaling pathways.

Embryonic exposure to cannabis is thus expected to downregulate CB1R function, leading to a reduction in the efficacy of normal endocannabinoid functions. Indeed, Tibor Harkany at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and colleagues found that THC displaces endocannabinoids from CB1Rs in the brains of rat pups in utero, resulting in temporarily reduced CB1R function and altered levels of nearly three dozen proteins in the fetal brain.

Our group, led by Olivier Manzoni , is particularly interested in how in utero cannabis exposure alters the mammalian prefrontal cortex, a brain region critical for executive functions ranging from decision making to the moderation of social behavior.

The prefrontal cortex starts developing during the first trimester of gestation in mammals and continues to mature into early adulthood, making it an area with one of the longest periods of vulnerability to developmental insult. Earlier this year, our laboratory published work demonstrating that rats whose mothers were given low-dose THC or an analogous synthetic cannabinoid while pregnant showed significant changes in synaptic plasticity and altered levels of several important proteins lasting well into adulthood.

We found that the consequences of these changes manifested as a reduced sociability in the exposed offspring. Male rats in particular were much less likely to approach, play with, or sniff other rats. These findings parallel sociobehavioral changes seen in young adult humans exposed to cannabis during gestation. And scientists are now linking those effects to changes in the brain that are similar to what we observed in rats. Using functional MRI technology, for example, researchers participating in the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study observed a reduction in activity in the prefrontal cortices of adult offspring of mothers who smoked marijuana during pregnancy.

This drop was associated with decreased working memory, echoing the attentional problems and memory dysfunction seen as early as infancy. Cannabis is also likely to affect the amygdala, which is critical for emotional development. In , Yasmin Hurd of the Karolinska Institute and colleagues identified a significant reduction in dopamine D2 receptor mRNA in the amygdalae of fetal brains that correlated with the reported quantity of cannabis consumed by their mothers.

Located at the presynaptic terminal of neurons, CB1R is activated by endocannabinoids, which are synthesized from fatty acids in the postsynaptic neuron. The function of CB2Rs in the brain is still poorly understood, but there is some evidence that they exist both pre- and post-synaptically, as well as on glia and astrocytes. When people smoke or ingest marijuana, exogenous cannabinoids enter the nervous system and activate these receptors.

Stimulation by these high-affinity agonists results in stronger binding and greater activation of CB1R, triggering the process of receptor downregulation. Specifically, the greater binding causes the receptors to be internalized and degraded, such that they are no longer as available for cannabinoid signaling, and can thereby alter neuronal firing and other downstream events.

While we do know for certain that THC and other cannabinoids in marijuana are transferred to the fetus, there is also the possibility that CB1R activation in the mother causes hormonal or other downstream signaling changes that affect the developing fetus. Another question researchers are currently trying to answer is how cannabis affects males and females differently.

Surprisingly, some of the documented effects of in utero cannabis exposure are sexually divergent. The drop in dopamine receptor mRNA in the amygdalae of cannabis-exposed fetuses, for example, was much greater in male offspring, though a similar, but not statistically significant trend was found in females, according to the data.

Smoking Marijuana While Pregnant | Drug Abuse & Pregnant

Marijuana has been legalized in some capacity in 31 U. As a result, cannabis has become the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy.

One recent study revealed that in 7 percent of pregnant women in California used marijuana, with rates as high as 22 percent among teenage mothers. In Colorado 69 percent of dispensaries recommended the drug to pregnant women to help with morning sickness. Whereas marijuana is not a major health risk for most adults, prenatal drug exposure can be harmful to unborn babies.

Previous research has shown infants exposed to cannabis in the womb are 50 percent more likely to have a lower birth weight. Now three new studies presented in November at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego suggest prenatal cannabis exposure—at least in rodents—could have serious consequences for fetal brain development.

But, she adds, just because a drug is not very dangerous to adults does not mean it is harmless to the developing brain. In one study researchers at Washington State University in Pullman showed rat pups born to mothers exposed to high amounts of cannabis vapor during pregnancy had trouble with cognitive flexibility. After the pups grew up the researchers trained them on a task that measured their ability to think flexibly and learn new rules.

The young rats first learned to follow a light cue to push one of two levers in order to receive a sugary treat. The next day, pushing only the left lever would deliver the reward, regardless of which side the light had been on. The rats exposed to cannabis in utero learned the first rule following the light cue without a problem, but they took significantly longer to learn the new rule pushing the left lever than did rats not exposed to the drug.

The cannabis-exposed rats also made many more mistakes on the second day. They would respond correctly for a couple rounds, making it seem like they knew the new rule, but then they would press the wrong lever again. In a similar study, scientists at Auburn University in Alabama found rats born to mothers that had been injected with a low, continuous dose of synthetic cannabis during pregnancy were significantly impaired on several different memory tasks involving mazes.

Specifically, they had difficulty creating new connections between neurons—the basis for forming new memories. In the third study researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Ferrara in Italy again found impairments in memory and changes in levels of glutamate in the brains of rats exposed to THC in the womb.

They also discovered an increase in another molecule in the brain, which they think may be the missing link between prenatal cannabis exposure, glutamate and cognitive impairments: kynurenic acid.

This chemical acts like a puppet master in the brain, regulating glutamate and other important neurochemicals; high levels of the molecule result in lower glutamate levels.

Kynurenic acid has also previously been implicated in cognitive impairments in both people and animals. The findings, which are in rodents, may not necessarily translate to humans.

Dana Smith is a freelance science writer specializing in brains and bodies. In a previous life, she earned a Ph. You have free article s left. Already a subscriber? Sign in. See Subscription Options. Dana G. Smith Dana Smith is a freelance science writer specializing in brains and bodies. Get smart. Sign up for our email newsletter. Sign Up.

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Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant

Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant

Foetal brain damage cannabis smoking pregnant