Don’t children born to pot-smoking mothers suffer from “Fetal Marijuana Syndrome?”

If a fetal cannabis syndrome exists, cases are so rare that it cannot be demonstrated. Many mothers use marijuana during pregnancy — it controls the nausea called `morning sickness’ and many say it actually increases the appetite and reduces stress. This is especially important in less developed countries, where modern medical care is not as easily available, but even so, the benefits of responsible marijuana use may outweigh the risks even under modern medicine.

Studies conducted in Jamiaca have shown that mothers who smoke marijuana have healthier children, but this may be due to the extra income generated by marijuana dealing and other factors. It has been a common ploy in the War on Drugs to claim that marijuana, and especially cocaine, causes birth defects or behavior problems like alcohol does. This scares caring mothers into thinking drugs are `evil.’ The claims are not based on valid scientific research — many of them do not even consider the life-style or living conditions of the mothers before pointing at drugs with the blame.

Obviously, pregnant mothers should not smoke as much pot as they possibly can. If marijuana is abused, it may hurt the health of both mother and child. Delta-9-THC does cross the placenta and enter the fetus. Oddly, though, the marijuana metabolite, 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-THC does not, and the fetus does not break delta-9-THC down into 11-nor like the mother’s body does, so unborn children are not exposed to 11-nor. The third trimester is the time when the child is most vulnerable. Parents should bear these facts in mind when they make decisions about using cannabis.


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