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"How Marijuana Harms a Developing Baby's Brain" - Dana G. Smith

  • Scientific American
  • New York, NY
  • (November 07, 2018)

Marijuana has been legalized in some capacity in 31 U.S. states, in large part due to a softening stance around the potential harms of the drug and recognition of its medical benefits. As a result, cannabis has become the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy. Whereas marijuana is not a major health risk for most adults, prenatal drug exposure can be harmful to unborn babies. “There’s become this relaxation—in part because marijuana is becoming legal in many states around the country—that it’s fine,” said Yasmin Hurd, PhD, director of the Addiction Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who was not involved in the new research. But, she adds, just because a drug is not very dangerous to adults does not mean it is harmless to the developing brain. She concluded that “given the fact that more pregnant women today are starting to smoke marijuana, it’s really important for us to get the word out.”

— Yasmin Hurd, PhD, Professor, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Systems Therapeutics, Chair, Ward-Coleman Translational Neuroscience, Director, The Addiction Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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