A new experiment at the University of Washington will pay mothers to smoke marijuana while pregnant to later measure its effects on their infants at 6 months of age.
And taxpayers will help pay for it — to the tune of $190,000.
While the idea on its face seems reckless and wildly dangerous, the stated purpose of the experiment makes a little sense — if you can get over the fact that it will likely harm babies who didn’t ask to be part of some pay-to-smoke program.
The official description of the project explains that the increase in both decriminalization and potency of marijuana over the past 30 years warrants further studying the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy.
The project will involve 70 mothers — half will use prescribed medicine to combat morning sickness and the the other half will smoke marijuana for the same purpose.
The mothers will each receive $300 for their participation.
The infants will undergo brain scans when they reach six months of age to identify any possible impacts and risks of drug exposure, including the development of brain disorders.
“The very few investigations that have studied prenatal cannabis exposure and infant brain development have all involved women who are polysubstance drug users,” said Dr. Natalia Kleinhans, one of the supervisors of the study.
“No one has looked at marijuana use exclusively. This study will also involve periodic drug testing during pregnancy to verify in real time that moms aren’t using other drugs, rather than relying on the mother’s self-report after the child is born.”
“Smell is one of the earliest developing senses, and it activates brain regions that have cannabinoid receptors and are involved in reward and addiction. We will use fMRI to look at the integrity of the reward system that we think could be affected by marijuana — to see if there is a change,” Kleinhans explained.
According to a news release from the University of Washington, “Researchers will analyze the MRI images and behavioral data to discern whether differences exist among babies that were and were not exposed to cannabis.”
Although the purpose for the study might sound noble enough, previously conducted studies have already found disturbing results in infants whose mothers smoked marijuana during pregnancy.
Children born to mothers who used #marijuana during #pregnancy may be at increased risk for #psychosis , according to a new study. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis analyzed data from an ongoing nationwide study of child health and brain development.
— Paul Ebeling (@Redroadmaster) April 3, 2019
??? New Study: Marijuana use during pregnancy increases the risk of a child developing psychosis. Our statement: pic.twitter.com/Y1dTwH38sm
— SAM (@learnaboutsam) March 28, 2019
The studies above seem to show that marijuana use during pregnancy has a high correlation to negative impacts on fetal development.
While the circumstances and reasons for Kleinhans’ study may be different, the fact that taxpayer dollars are subsidizing a known harm to infants is hard to overlook.
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