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A new study from Western University and Queens University suggests that marijuana use while pregnant may very well affect the baby’s growth.
The study, published Friday, finds a direct link between marijuana and low birth weight in babies.
Scientists say that it’s the THC in marijuana that causes stunted fetal growth and lower birth weights of up to eight percent. Researchers used rat models as well as human placental cells, wherein they gave daily marijuana use that they found led to up to a 20 percent decrease in brain and liver growth.
“Over the last decade, cannabis use has progressively increased in pregnant women, in part due to the perception that its usage poses no risk in perinatal life,” the study reads.
The study is the first of its kind that “definitively support” claims that THC can have a negative impact on fetal growth.
“This study is important to support clinicians in communicating the very real risks associated with cannabis use during pregnancy,” co-author David Natale told CTV.
Scientists concede that not all is understood still, stating that there were certain mechanisms that still needed vast amounts of research. The study was able to determine that THC stunts the proper function of the placenta, which could affect oxygen flow, nutritional flow, and blood flow.