Taxpayer-Funded Study Pays Pregnant Women to Use Marijuana

By Ilona Schumicky | July 2, 2019 | 8:54am EDT
(Photo by Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

( – The University of Washington has received a $193,759 grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health, to study the effects of marijuana consumption on pregnant women and their babies.

“When the morning sickness starts to kick in, you might start to wonder: is using marijuana to alleviate nausea safe for your baby?” the study solicitation says.

“Participants must be pregnant less than 13 weeks, must be 21-34 years of age, and must either consume marijuana frequently or not at all.”

Those who participate will earn up to $300 for completing all parts of the study.

According to the National Institutes of Health:

Cannabis use during pregnancy has increased substantially, in conjunction with legalization and decreases in the percentage of the population who believe marijuana use is harmful. Cannabis passes through the placenta and binds to cannabinoid receptors, and potentially can alter prenatal brain development.

In this study, we will prospectively track cannabis use during pregnancy and investigate 6-month-old infants exposed to cannabis in utero…

NIH noted that prior research likely underestimated the potential risks of cannabis use during pregnancy because modern strains are 3 times more potent than they were 30 years ago.

Seventy women will participate in the study: 35 pregnant women who are using cannabis to alleviate morning sickness and 35 pregnant women who are using prescribed medication for morning sickness.

Participants will meet with researchers three times during pregnancy to complete urine-based drug tests and questionnaires.

“During pregnancy, you will fill out secure surveys online each week documenting your daily use of marijuana products and other substances, in addition to questions related to mood and nausea.”

Mothers will then bring in their babies at six months old for behavioral assessments and an MRI scan.

“We do not expect to find anything of medical concern during the infant MRI scans, but if we do see anything in the images that may indicate a health issue, you will be referred to a physician,” the University of Washington said on the study’s webpage.

It says participants “will also help provide reliable information to others who want to make informed decisions about their pregnancies in the future.”

The project began in February and will end in January 2021.

A previous study, this one conducted at Washington State University, found that the offspring of rats that ingested marijuana during pregnancy showed slowed development.

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