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Study finds use of THC during pregnancy can increase high blood sugar in kids


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.

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Jasmine Arenas

Jasmine is an MMJ and Anchor for Telemundo Surco and KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Jasmine here.



  1. It’s obvious that pot legalization has had a terrible impact on the state and its children (I voted for the early laws, but decriminalization was a mistake). Still, I don’t know how this even qualifies as a study if it’s as described. You are talking a sample size of 15 mothers who used pot while pregnant. There’s no indication here if that means two joints in 10 months or daily or both. There are obviously going to be a lot of other differences between a household where a pregnant mother smokes pot regularly and one where the pregnant woman doesn’t, many of them can explain a slightly fatter kid. Increased body fat will create insulin resistance in any one, so the rise in bg is probably just because the kid has more body fat, it’s not a direct result of the pot. And the idea that these kids are going to be tracked, with some doctor looking for bad behavior in her patients in order to justify study funding?

  2. Sure fetal alcohol symptom exists,
    So it would make sense that exists with all child bearing women and the substances they put into their body during childbirth.
    Does the Government need to regulate and have full oversight in this region of women’s lives as well, or do they get to make their own decisions?

  3. Also, this says it increases blood glucose levels on a fasting test. That doesn’t mean those are high blood glucose levels. A normal range for fasting blood glucose is somewhere around 70 to 100. So a kid could move from 70 to 80 and that’s an increase. Doesn’t mean it’s high, or even medically significant. Doctors don’t start talking about pre-diabetes until you’re over 100, and you have to hit about 200 before you start shedding glucose into urine, as I understand it.

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