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Exposure to cannabis (marijuana or hashish) in the womb causes children to have higher levels of anxiety, aggressiveness and hyperactivity compared to those who were not exposed to cannabis during pregnancy.
Women who use cannabis during pregnancy may predispose their children to be more prone to stress and anxiety, according to one study conducted by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the City University of New York.
"Some people use cannabis to reduce anxiety and relax," explains Yoko Nomura, professor of psychology at CUNY Graduate Center and Queens College and first author of the study.
«They mistakenly believe that using cannabis does not carry significant risks. But our study shows that exposure to cannabis in utero has the opposite effect in children, causing them to have higher levels of anxiety, aggressiveness and hyperactivity compared to other children who were not exposed to cannabis during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, drinking, using or being exposed to marijuana, hashish or some other derivative of cannabis can have a great long-term impact on the health of children ”
To carry out the research, a long-term study of 322 mother-child pairs was conducted: hormone levels were measured through hair samples taken when the children were 6 years old, electrocardiogram recordings were used to measure heart function during a stressful situation, and the children's behavioral and emotional functioning were assessed.
Children of mothers who used cannabis during pregnancy showed increased anxiety, aggressiveness, hyperactivity, and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, compared to the children of non-cannabis users.
The idea that taking cannabis is risk-free or minimal risk is widespread, but it is a misconception: because taking, using or being exposed to marijuana, hashish or some other derivative of cannabis can have a great impact in the long run term in children's health
"The results of the study show that there is a great need to provide accurate and truthful information to the general public and pregnant women in particular regarding the potential impact of cannabis use," explained Yasmin Hurd, director of the Institute of Addictions at Mount Sinai and author main of the investigation.