Problems persist in children exposed to cannabis in the womb

Summary: Prenatal exposure to cannabis has been associated with an increased risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression, in children. The risk increases as they enter adolescence and adulthood.

source: WUSTL

Children exposed to cannabis in the womb continue to show elevated rates of psychopathological symptoms — depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions — even as 11 and 12 years old, heading into adolescence, according to research from the Department of Psychology and the Brain Lab for Brain Sciences, led by Ryan Bogdan. , Associate Professor of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

The findings, published Monday, September 12, 2022 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics, are a follow-up to 2020 research from the Bogdan Laboratory that revealed that younger children exposed to cannabis before birth were more likely to be infected with cannabis. They have trouble sleeping, low birth weight and decreased cognitive performance, among other things.

Either way, the effect is stronger when looking at cannabis exposure after learning about pregnancy, and to determine if these associations persisted as children got older, David Baranger, a postdoctoral researcher in the Brain Lab, returned more than 10,500 children from a 2020 analysis. Their average lifespan was 10 years in 2020.

The data for the children and their mothers came from the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), an ongoing study of nearly 12,000 children, starting at ages 9-10, and their parents or caregiver. The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and its federal partners, began in 2016, when participants were enrolled at 22 sites across the United States.

This shows a pregnant woman
Babies exposed to cannabis in the womb continue to show elevated rates of psychopathological symptoms. The image is in the public domain

This seemingly small change in age – from 10 to 12 years old – is significant. “During the first wave, they were just kids. They are now progressing into their teens,” Baranger said. “We know this is the period when a significant proportion of mental health diagnoses occur.”

More recent data analysis showed no significant changes in the rate of psychiatric conditions as children age. They remain at greater risk of developing clinical mental disorders and problematic substance abuse as they enter their later teenage years.

“Once they reach 14 or 15 years of age, we expect to see further increases in mental health disorders or other psychiatric conditions — and increases will continue into children’s early twenties,” Baranger said.

About this News Psychology and Neurodevelopment

author: Brandy Jefferson
source: WUSTL
Contact: Brandi Jefferson – WUSTL
picture: The image is in the public domain

original search: Access closed.
Association of mental health burden with prenatal cannabis exposure from infancy to early adolescenceWritten by Ryan Bogdan et al. Gamma Pediatrics

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Association of mental health burden with prenatal cannabis exposure from infancy to early adolescence

The dramatic increases in cannabis use during pregnancy are worrisome due to evidence that prenatal exposure may be associated with a range of adverse outcomes.

We previously found that prenatal cannabis exposure (PCE) after maternal knowledge of pregnancy is associated with increased psychopathology during middle childhood using baseline data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study.

Here, making use of the ABCD Longitudinal Study data (data version 4.0), we examined whether associations with psychopathology persist into early adolescence.

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