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Does Prenatal Cannabis Use Make Angry Babies? Debunking Latest Medical Study

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

Studies like the one published in the NY Times should be critically analyzed and sources should be studied as well.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.

There I was, minding my own business when I read the headline, “Cannabis Use in Pregnancy May Lead to a More Anxious, Aggressive Child.” So claims the title of a New York Times article written by Melinda Wenner Moyer, who cites a study that looked at maternal cannabis use and an alleged suppressed gene networks in the placenta.

The article is well-written and contains many links embedded within the text creating the illusion of authority. However, if you were to read almost two-thirds of the way down, you’ll run into this paragraph:

“The study does not, however, prove that prenatal cannabis use caused the children’s behavioral problems. Some of the mothers said they had used cannabis only after giving birth (though THC can pass through breast milk). And women who use cannabis may differ from abstinent women in other ways that put their children at risk for behavioral issues. They may have underlying risk factors, such as a family history of psychiatric problems, or they may have been exposed to other chemicals during pregnancy that increase the risk for behavioral issues in their kids, said Ryan Bogdan, a psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis who studies the underlying biology of psychiatric disorders. The authors of the study tried to control for such differences using statistical methods, but some could nevertheless have influenced the results.”  

This isn’t to say that there may be biological concerns about consuming cannabis, this most certainly needs to be studied clinically. However, the study that was cited — as with many of the studies where there are scathing views on cannabis — was not clinical in nature. Additionally, the phrase “Some of the mothers said they had used cannabis only after giving birth,” makes the claim of the article seem more dubious.

 

Nonetheless, I decided to look at the information to see if it was true or not, whether smoking weed during pregnancy can create angry and anxious babies. About the Author I think before we dive deeper into the story we need to take a closer look at Melinda Wenner Moyer. Moyer is the author of the book, “How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes”. The book claims to follow scientifically driven concepts on raising your kids, however, after reading some of the negative reviews of her book it seems that there is a strong bias in terms of ideology.

Her concept of “asshole” is based on a particular type of thinking prevalent in mainstream media, which is totally fine. Of course, if you fall outside of her framed view of how life should be, you’d probably end up on her “asshole list” and subsequently your babies might as well.

One of the negative reviews on her book said the following;

“I am a big fan of evidence-based parenting, like Emily Oster’s books, so I wanted to try this one. However, it felt like just another book written by a parent who thinks their way is right and throws in some studies to try to justify it. It was NOT grounded in the research. I like books where the author discusses research that changed their approach. This is more like research used to justify the approach the author already believed in. It just feels biased and a little weak. So many better parenting books are out there that give more radical discoveries and insight.”

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