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According to animal studies, the endocannabinoid system is already detectable in the early stages of embryonic development and has been shown to play an important role in the development of the brain. In addition, prenatal THC exposure can negatively affect the maturation of several different neurotransmitter systems in some regions of the brain.
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In addition, according to an article published in the August 2020 issue of Birth Defects Research, there appears to be an increased risk of congenital abnormalities (birth defects), particularly gastroschisis, where the bowel protrudes through a hole in the abdominal wall in babies who were exposed to cannabinoids before birth.
Scientific evidence suggests that the components of cannabis accumulate in the breast milk of breastfeeding mothers who smoke cannabis. The results of a study by Perez-Reyes et al. indicated that the concentration of THC in human breast milk can be up to eight times higher than that in maternal blood. The results of another scientific study suggest that exposure to cannabis from breast milk during the first month of life appears to be associated with a decrease in motor development in the child by the age of one year.
The Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states, “Given the known short and long-term effects of cannabis on fetuses and babies, it is safest for women to avoid the use of cannabis while pregnant and breastfeeding.”