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Cannabis Study of Expecting Mothers Causes Social Media Controversy

Cannabis Study of Expecting Mothers Causes Social Media Controversy

Little boy playing with pot plant


Seattle, Washington –A new study taking place at the University of Washington School of Medicine entitled, Moms + Marijuana seeks area participants to examine the effects of “prenatal marijuana use on infant development.” The study aims to determine whether or not using cannabis to alleviate morning sickness is damaging to babies. The Twitterverse cannot help debate the study’s moral and scientific potentialities.

The utter crassness of comparing such participants to the unwilling victims of the Tuskegee experiments aside, Twitter users immediately began projecting their polarizing thoughts on the matter.

An incredulous Twitter user was up in arms about the possibility of pregnant women being asked to use cannabis, while another user subtly pointed out that the study was seeking pregnant participants who use cannabis, not to use cannabis.

Another user suggested that if some pregnant women are going to use cannabis anyway, why not study its effects?

(You can almost hear Nancy Grace sreaming “The Babies” while clutching her pearls.)

What is Moms + Marijuana?

According to Moms + Marijuana’s website the study will analyze whether “prenatal marijuana use affects their child’s brain development and cognitive, motor and social skills.”

Participants who use cannabis primarily to control nausea, and abstain from alcohol, tobacco and any illicit drugs, will make up the control group. The expectant mothers will also have to submit to urinalysis.

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 Dr. Kleinhaus, according to Spokane’s KXLY.

The researchers will track the participants cannabis use and periodically drug test them during their pregnancies. At six month of age the babies’ brains will be subjected to an MRI-scan –that does not contain radiation– to identify possible behavioral effects of cannabis exposure,” according to the researchers’ website.

The site goes on to explain while “most studies of prenatal cannabis exposure have focused on addiction, with pregnant participants using alcohol and other substances in addition to marijuana. That’s why University of Washington researchers, led by Natalia Kleinhans, are recruiting participants for a new study designed to look at the effects of marijuana alone.”

Participants must be 21 to 34 years of age, and be less than 13 weeks expecting. They will be compensated $300 and provided with follow-up physician referrals should anything abnormal be detected.

Individuals not participating in the study are free to participate in the ensuing debate on Twitter.


Full story is available here.

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