Tuesday December 11, 2018

Maternal Cannabis Use to Trigger Early Indulgence in Kids

The researchers also analysed the impacts of mother's marijuana use on child's cognitive skills, family's socio-economic position and social environment

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Maternal cannabis use likely to trigger early indulgence in kids. pixabay
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Children whose mothers use Cannabis are more likely to start smoking weed an average of two years earlier, which can lead to severe neuropsychiatric and social consequences, according to a new study.

The results, led by researchers from the Brown University in Rhode Island, US, suggested that mothers who used marijuana increased their children’s risk for its early use, at a median age of 16, as compared with age 18 for children whose mothers did not use the drug.

While marijuana has been recognised as a therapeutic benefit for a number of health conditions, including a safer alternative to opioids, it has been linked with negative consequences among children.

Early usage of cannabis may lead to conditions such as impairments in concentration and decision-making, increased impulsivity, as well as reductions in IQ.

The younger a child begins using marijuana, the more severe the effects would be. Therefore, delaying marijuana initiation may be an important public health goal, the researchers said.

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In this July 12, 2018 file photo, a newly-transplanted cannabis cuttings grow in pots at a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Massachusetts. (VOA)

“Beginning marijuana use at a young age has been linked with negative cognitive and behavioural consequences,” said Natasha Sokol, a postdoctoral student at the varsity.

“It’s important to better understand how these changes may impact children’s early marijuana use so that we can better identify at-risk youth and implement effective prevention strategies,” she added.

For the study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the team assessed the timing and extent of marijuana use and initiation among 4,440 children and 2,586 mothers.

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They tested the effect of a mother’s marijuana use between a child’s birth and age 12 on that child’s subsequent risk of marijuana initiation and controlling for factors related to the child’s early life behaviour.

The researchers also analysed the impacts of mother’s marijuana use on child’s cognitive skills, family’s socio-economic position and social environment. (IANS)

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Here’s How Cannabis Affect Women

However, the human data so far is consistent with the idea that oestradiol regulates the female response to cannabinoids

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Why cannabis affects women different, Read here. Pixabay

Hormones could be the reason why cannabis affects women differently than men, brain studies on animals and humans suggest.

The studies showed that sex differences in response to cannabis are not just socio-cultural, but biological too.

The findings showed that men are up to four times more likely to try cannabis and use higher doses, more frequently.

“Male sex steroids increase risk-taking behaviour and suppress the brain’s reward system which could explain why males are more likely to try drugs including cannabis,” said Liana Fattore, Senior Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy.

“This is true for both natural male sex steroids like testosterone and synthetic steroids like nandrolone.”

But despite lower average cannabis use, women go from first hit to habit faster than men.

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An employee inspects the leaf of a cannabis plant at a medical marijuana plantation in northern Israel. (VOA)

In fact, men and women differ not only in the prevalence and frequency of cannabis use, pattern and reasons of use, but also in the vulnerability to develop cannabis use disorder.

“Females seem to be more vulnerable, at a neurochemical level, in developing addiction to cannabis,” Fattore explained, in the paper published in the journal Frontiers in behavioural Neuroscience.

“As a result, the interactions between the endocannabinoid system and the brain level of dopamine — the neurotransmitter of “pleasure” and “reward” are sex-dependent.”

The inconsistency of conditions in these studies greatly complicates interpretation of an already complex role of sex hormones in the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid sensitivity.

However, the human data so far is consistent with the idea that oestradiol regulates the female response to cannabinoids.

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As in animals, human males and females are diverse in their genetic and hormonally driven behaviour and they process information differently, perceive emotions in different ways and are differently vulnerable to develop drug addiction.

“Blood levels of enzymes which break down cannabinoids fluctuate across the human menstrual cycle, and imaging studies show that brain levels of cannabinoid receptors increase with ageing in females — mirroring in each case changes in oestradiol levels,” Fattore said. (IANS)