According to a media statement hosted by Eurekalert, more women in America are using dagga to fight the symptoms of morning sickness as it becomes more legal across more states.
Previous research has shown that this wasn’t a great idea, children from these mothers were more likely to suffer behavioural problems along with impaired learning and memories.
New research has taken this beyond a correlation and shown how dagga hits a fetus right in the hippocampus.
What the researchers did was they tested synthetic cannabis on pregnant rats – and then looked at the brains of their offspring.
What they found was that there was a reduction in neural cell adhesion molecules, which meant that the rats had reduced synapses between the nerves of the hippocampus.
The earlier in the pregnancy it is taken, the worse the result for the kid.
The researchers hope that this will eventually lead to some sort of treatment for the kids, after all if the problem is just a lack of those molecules they could maybe just give them more of them, but the research is in too early a stage for that yet.
I am generally in favour of legalising dagga. For me the cut off on whether a drug should be illegal is answered by the question, “Does it cause more trouble than alcohol?”
Dagga doesn’t. It being legalised for home use in South Africa I think was a good step, and I think it needs to be legalised for recreational use in general.
There was never really a rational argument for its ban in the first place.
That said, it suffers from its adoption as a form of alternative medicine.
Part of this is because people want to get high, but just saying that doesn’t sound terribly convincing so its medical uses started getting exaggerated.
Not all alternative medicine is necessarily ineffective, what it is however, is poorly researched and understood.
So you can have herbal remedies which works – but you don’t know the side effects, and often you don’t even really know what the dosage you’re getting is because plants are not as precise manufacturers as laboratories.
Now with most drugs – the recommendation is to not take them while pregnant because you don’t want to interfere with a fetus’ early development.
This all reminds me a bit of thalidomide.
Thalidomide was a drug that was sold as a way of fighting morning sickness, and thus you ended up with thalidomide babies who suffered all sorts of deformities because it messed with their development in unforeseen ways.
With dagga, at the moment it is a bit of a health craze and claims are being made all over the place about various ills it can cure, and maybe it can in some cases.
But it is going to take research to figure that out – to find what its real uses are, and what’s just someone selling you snake oil.
And research is still going into what the side effects are, so it isn’t ever going to be a wise choice to take a drug like this while pregnant.