Nine states are carrying measures to legalize marijuana on the Nov. 8 ballot — California, Nevada, Maine, Arizona, Massachusetts, Florida, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota. Pot peddlers claim the industry will boost jobs and grow the economy.
But the marijuana industry isn’t interested in the occasional or casual adult user. Like any drug industry, this group is interested in addicts — people who start using early and make it a lifetime habit. Maybe that’s why they don’t care about how their drugs are affecting babies — and why they occasionally take measures to market their products to pregnant women.
Between 7 and 10 percent of newborns at the [Pueblo] hospital are testing positive for THC, the mind-altering ingredient in cannabis.
The data is only now starting to roll in. Recently, 237 physicians from Pueblo, Colorado, banded together to detail some of the health risks associated with marijuana legalization. In particular, Dr. Steven Simerville, a pediatrician at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, has found that between 7 and 10 percent of newborns at the hospital are testing positive for THC, the mind-altering ingredient in cannabis.
Researchers have found that THC levels in babies lead to decreased spatial reasoning, I.Q., learning, and memory, as well as an increased risk for suicide and later drug use.
Marijuana use in pregnancy takes a toll, said Pamela McColl of British Columbia. She has eyewitness proof. Her sister, who was married to a longtime marijuana user, had a newborn baby who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at three weeks old. Her sister’s two other children also experienced complications, including reproductive abnormalities and heart defects.
A 2015 study from the University of Copenhagen confirmed that male use of marijuana damages sperm and can lead to birth defects. “So nobody is going to tell me that this isn’t related to marijuana,” she told LifeZette. McColl has been working for years as national director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana in British Columbia in order to spread awareness of the health risks of marijuana.
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Women have been a target market for marijuana use for a while. Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth have been instrumental in pushing marijuana as a solution for menstrual cramps — and many government officials are listening. States such as New Jersey are moving to add menstrual cramps to the list of medically approved maladies that could be addressed with marijuana usage. Dispensaries and midwives have been peddling marijuana as a cure-all for morning sickness.
Warning labels on prescription medications, cigarette boxes, and other hazardous products help women understand the risks of casual usage during pregnancy. Pot products carry no such warning.
But using marijuana during pregnancy can lead to a myriad of health problems, including cerebral hemorrhage, spina bifida, Down syndrome — even babies who are born with only half a brain. Research from the University of Adelaide in South Australia shows that marijuana use even before conception can damage the fetus.
“The risk to the fetus is not only cognitive development damage, which shows up in the early preschool years, but also in DNA studies,” McColl explained. “So we’re seeing preliminary research now that shows that use of marijuana by men or women is detrimental to chromosomal health. You can see generational damage here. This is really quite terrifying. People who use marijuana — it may not just be their own children but their grandchildren. This is a 100-year problem we may now be facing.”
By not requiring warning labels on cannabis products, the government is leaving itself open to lawsuits. Warning labels on prescription medications, cigarette boxes, and other hazardous products help women understand the risks of casual usage during pregnancy. Marijuana products carry no such warning.
By not condemning the marijuana movement, the U.S. government violates the United Nations Drug Control Conventions and betrays its allies. “When I was at the U.N. in April, they reamed out the Americans, saying, ‘You cannot do this. We all agreed,'” McColl said. Sweden, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and numerous other countries are worried that the U.S. drug industry would leak across to their borders and pose public health problems for their rising generations.
Nobody knows what will happen to the babies who are born THC-positive. Previous studies in the 1970s on THC-positive infants had levels around 2.5 percent; many of these infants today are measuring around 15 percent. “We don’t know what it means now,” Dr. Simerville said in a press conference about the marijuana crisis. He explained the brain doesn’t finish developing until the late twenties — and early exposure to cannabis will have devastating neurological effects on the developing brain.
There may not be enough research to document exactly what neurological trauma will occur for some of these babies. But McColl confirmed that the 20,000-plus scientific studies have shown clearly that cannabis is “unsafe for human consumption” and could cost taxpayers billions of dollars down the road in health care costs.