A recent study was released on the relationship betwee cannabis use and pregnancy, drawing a data pool from the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand. Unfortunately, for those hoping to gain a deeper, unbiased insight into this plant’s historical use as a pregnancy-symptom treatment, this “scientific” study is the wrong place.
The researchers conducting the study went on record with statements like, “Anecdotally, we know that some women are using marijuana to reduce nausea in pregnancy, even though there is no medical evidence to support this. Our study was unable to determine whether there is a ‘safe’ time prior to 20 weeks’ gestation to give up marijuana. Therefore, we recommend total abstinence from marijuana during pregnancy.”
This is such a convoluted, factually untrue statement that it brings into question the entire mindset of the researchers. After all, isn’t cannabis’ treatment of nausea one of the initial medical benefits found in the plant, and isn’t this one of the oldest standing treatment-uses for cannabis? Why, therefore, can this researcher not conclude that cannabis would obviously help with nausea during pregnancy, when her denial did not even include any theoretical reasons as to why this is not the case? Instead, she denied an obvious and already scientifically validated treatment capability of cannabis with a blanket statement.
The overall conclusion of this study was that chronic cannabis usage during pregnancy leads to a marked and increased risk in preterm birth. Some very basic critiques of this analysis can be considered as such:
Firstly, few children come out at 9 months on the dot–this is a slightly inexact science. Secondly, the research made very broad and sweeping statistical analyses of “preterm births” and cannabis use, and did not clarify in the data what the specified diagnostic classification of these preterm births were; this already leaves a broad variety of holes in the data. There are a great deal of children that can be technically considered “preterm births” that have no statistical health variances, then there are some children who come out with minor developmental ailment variances (perhaps like asthma, for example), and then there are the percentage of children that are actually done a biological disservice by their preterm birth, and can be extensively handicapped.
Some people, perhaps like the researchers of this study, would be inclined to make a statement along the lines of, “We cannot conclude that cannabis is safe during pregnancy until someone does further scientific analysis,” but this is still a very short-sighted, marginalized, and uneducated point of view. While there may be more scientific analysis that could be done, there is already an overwhelming body of empirical deductive analysis that well beyond concludes the safety and efficacy of cannabis during pregnancy. Namely, the historical use of the drug during pre-and-postnatal treatment that can be traced as far back as ancient Egypt in 1500 BCE, for example, and has been found in ancient Chinese medical compendiums for treatments such as nausea during pregnancy, and so forth. Now this in and of itself serves to demonstrate the historical belief in the safety of cannabis during pregnancy but is not necessarily definitive proof. However, when aligned with the massive body of empirical deductive evidence, its safety becomes clear.
Another example, albeit more anecdotal, is a thought experiment–perhaps a piece of homework for the reader if you will: How many mothers have you talked to that have actually used cannabis during their own pregnancy for these types of treatments, how much was it used, in what ways were they using it, and how are their children doing now? If the reader has not had the chance to engage in an enlightening conversation with a mother who used cannabis during her pregnancy, it is recommended to keep an eye out for a mother that would be excited to share her story, because it will rarely be a “doomsday preterm birth” scenario as presented in this study.
To further break the journalist prose for a moment, this journalist has as well taken the time to sit down with a variety of attentive, nurturing, and reasonable mothers, and aside from giving similar lines of research that was provided in this article, they legitimately had some of the healthiest, smartest and happiest children that I have ever seen. Some of these mothers used it more sparingly than others, and even the ones who inhaled cannabis smoke on a daily basis are now raising wonderfully gifted children. Scientific studies have even been released that show advanced development of brain functions in the child because of their mother’s prenatal cannabis use, such as the notable improvement in visual neurodevelopment, including an increased visual acuity, among other things.
Another obvious piece of evidence that logically disproves adverse affects from prenatal cannabis use is the fact that endocannabinoids have been found as a naturally occurring source in human breast milk, and likely all mammalian breast milk in general. For those unfamiliar with the terminology, the Endocannabinoid system is a neurotransmitter class function in the brain that serves only for processing the cannabinoids that are both naturally-occurring in the body and consumed from an exterior source. The increasingly interesting aspect of this is that these neurotransmitters are, again, specified for cannabinoids alone, and this is an incredibly rare finding in neuropharmacology. For instance, opium delivers naturally-occurring molecules that mimic natural human transmitters (endorphines), but does not actually deliver endorphines to the brain. The human body, however, produces cannabinoids as a mood and stress-chemical regulation; it plays a crucial regulatory function in the intestine’s neurotransmitter system (the human body roughly has enough neural pathways in its intestine to equate to the size of a house cat’s brain, according to physician, Dr. Gabor Mate’); and it has the well-known massive anti-cancerous potential, both preventative-wise and treatment-wise. These examples are still only a small fraction of the functions cannabinoids serve for the body.
As a final small note, the scientific study mentioned at the beginning of this article did not seem to adequately account for psychological control-studies on the women using the cannabis in the study. Modern science has already conclusively proven that not only does cannabis smoke NOT attribute to any forms of cancer (even lung cancer), but that psychological stresses on the mother during the crucial prenatal development periods, can and does often lead to handicaps and chronic ailments through epigenetic overlay, among other modes. These handicaps can be either psychological or somatic, because the type of genetic coding that the stress can activate depends on the individual person’s genetic coding. In short, why a mother is using cannabis during her pregnancy could very likely have a much larger determinant factor in things like preterm birth than anything that has to do with the cannabis itself.
With modern medical technology and understanding, it could technically be recommended that a mother try to steer away from “smoking” cannabis during pregnancy, simply as an ideal. This is because cannabis vaporizing, eatable oil-infusions, and other delivery methods not only are exempt of the carcinogens that are still in any smoke, but actually have a much larger therapeutic spectrum when ingested in ways other than smoking. However, after any individual looks into the body of data related to cannabis and pregnancy, it becomes increasingly apparent that no one but the mother (and the father, to a lesser degree) has the right to make a decision about the use of this herb during a pregnancy. Instead of the persistent propaganda that cannabis is a questionable symptom treatment during prenatal and postnatal stages of pregnancy, history shows that cannabis is a highly recommended, safe, and effective treatment of a variety of illnesses, including those of which are related to pregnancy.
Sources: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/108817/20151121/kids-born-to-women-smoking-cannabis-during-pregnancy-excel-in-one-aspect-of-brain-development.htm, http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap2B/China/China.htm, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16596788, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11358910, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2219529/, http://www.psypost.org/2016/05/marijuana-use-pregnancy-major-risk-preterm-birth-42802, http://www.hightimes.com/read/study-smoking-marijuana-does-not-lead-lung-cancer, http://www.naturalnews.com/036526_cannabinoids_breast_milk_THC.html, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299904007423, http://pharmrev.aspetjournals.org/content/58/3/389.full#title49, http://herb.co/2016/05/13/ancient-history-marijuana-use-pregnancy/, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165951/