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Marijuana ok for preggy moms

Times have truly changed, even in the age-old belief that the use of marijuana can be harmful especially for pregnant mothers.

Even today on the Internet, you can find a clinical specialist warning that cannabis can affect the growth and development of a baby, and may even lead to leukemia.

Most of the studies performed in North America show that marijuana can cause defects and developmental problems among infants.

However, these studies did not separate the use of cannabis from alcohol, tobacco and even more damaging stuff like meth and heroin.

But in Jamaica, I was shocked to learn that pregnant mothers have been using marijuana on a regular basis to relieve them of their nausea, stress and even depression. This was usually in the form of tea or tonic.

A report revealed that in the late 1960s, student Melanie Dreher conducted a study on marijuana use in Jamaica to monitor and document the results from its usage among pregnant women.

Dreher discovered a culture in Jamaica that regulated its own intake of marijuana to the point of thinking that its use is spiritual.

She examined 24 Jamaican infants whose mothers were using cannabis while pregnant along with 20 infants who were not exposed to its use. The results of her field studies became part of the book “Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology”.

The report recognized the infant’s strengths, probable vulnerabilities and adaptive responses. More importantly, although the children in the study were evaluated until the age of five, there were no negative impacts monitored on the kids. Quite the opposite, the children appeared to have excelled.

Here in the country, we live in a time where the use and legalization of medical marijuana is being discussed in Congress.

Cannabis can supposedly stop epileptic seizures and help in the treatment of neuropathic diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Not only that, it can likewise treat loss of appetite that a patient experiences after the treatment for HIV or AIDS and chemotherapy.

Firing Line does not tolerate the use or abuse of any prohibited drug. But there are studies showing that marijuana has a number of medical uses, even among pregnant mothers. Let’s not close our eyes to these advantages and continue further studies.

We should also focus on how to prevent any abuses once the use of medical marijuana finds approval.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)