Pubdate: Fri, 24 Oct 2014
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Page: A18
Copyright: 2014 The Tribune Co.
Author: Vana Meyers


Regarding 'Science wins:' Al Byrne uses the work of Melanie Dreher to
support his view that marijuana is harmless, indeed even helpful, to
pregnant women and their babies. Unfortunately, this work is only one
work carried out on a very small sample of 33 users and 27 non-users
in the early 1980s. Although this work is important, subsequent
studies have disproved much of her work.

In addition, today's marijuana is not your mother's marijuana. It is a
much more potent form.

The University of Washington published on its website the results of
several studies which have shown that THC, the psychoactive ingredient
in marijuana, is known to pass from the mother to the developing fetus
through the placenta. This can result in restrictions in the growth of
the fetus, and in rare cases premature birth, miscarriage and stillbirth.

In addition, the article goes on to say that these deficits 'appear to
persist to age 10 years' and possibly on into early adulthood.

Lidush Goldschmidt, et al., at the University of Pittsburgh Medical
Center found subtle detrimental differences at all ages of development
in their own work and that of numerous other studies, including the
Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study, which found that PME (prenatal
marijuana exposure) affected the verbal and memory skills of children
at 4 years of age. Furthermore, these and other studies showed
detrimental effects to the intelligence of children on into the teen

These studies are scientific and extensive, and I could not possibly
summarize all of their findings for the purpose of this rebuttal to
Byrne's letter. However, I urge readers to look up the works of
Goldschmidt and others.

Keep in mind that Dreher's study was much less scientific, and though
carried on for 20 years, did not make use of the types of marijuana we
have today.

Finally, if I were pregnant and wanted to offset the effects of
nausea, etc., I would not want to play roulette with my baby's health.

Vana Meyers, Holiday 
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MAP posted-by: Richard