COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - A new study out of Colorado is setting off alarms about the possible long-term effects of using marijuana during pregnancy. The study suggests children exposed to cannabis in the womb could be at a higher risk for certain health issues.
According to a study by the Colorado School of Public Health, pregnant women who were exposed to THC and even CBD are more likely to have kids who weigh more and have higher blood sugar levels by the time they reach five years old.
The study conducted by an assistant professor at the University of Colorado- Anschutz Medical Campus found mothers who either used cannabis or exposed their children to it during pregnancy had kids with a 2.6% greater fat mass and higher fasting glucose levels compared to those who weren’t exposed to cannabis in the womb
From 2010 to 2014, researchers looked at 100 pregnant women living in Colorado. They collected urine samples from them and found that 15% had detectable levels of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, in their bodies, suggesting the fetuses had been exposed.
"Utilizing that data set, we were able to look at some long term effects and we did find that the children that were exposed to cannabis in pregnancy did have slightly higher glucose levels in childhood"
The author of the study, Brianna Moore, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, says though a novel finding, she was intrigued to do this study when she realized the rise of cannabis use among pregnant women.
"Women who self report using cannabis during pregnancy has gone up from about 2% to up to about potentially 7%- but in states that it is legal, such as colorado or new york city we do know that the self-report of cannabis use is going up and it might be a little higher than that," said Moore.
This study adds to the ongoing evidence that cannabis use during pregnancy can not only interfere with the development of the child but also affect their overall health.
" We actually did body composition measurements and we did find higher fat mass percentage of those who were exposed and we will look at that again at the 8-12 visit- there is a lot of great data that we can use to see how cannabis might affect the child later in life," said Moore.
Still, Moore suggests more research needs to be done regarding the effects of cannabis use or exposure during pregnancy.
Right now, however, the children from the study who are currently between the ages of eight and 12 will be coming back for a follow-up check-up. This time researchers will not only look at metabolic outcomes but also their behavior.