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Contact Effect from Marijuana

by Lori
(Oregon)

Can a child exposed since birth to large amounts of contact smoke from marijuana be slow to develop, i.e., walking, talking, etc.?

Comments for Contact Effect from Marijuana

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No research on this yet?
by: Debbie Wicker

Dear Lori,

I cannot find any research on this issue, all of the research is on second hand cigarette smoke. The research concludes that second hand cigarette smoke can cause ADHD. ADHD is brain development disorder which can cause some of the symptoms you're describing.

Smoking marijuana does effect the brain but it is not yet known if the second hand smoke has the same impact but it certainly could. Cigarette smoke causes cancer both in the smoker and in second hand smoke. So it may be reasonable to assume that the negative effects of smoking marijuana also could occur in the second hand smoke as well. We just don't know yet.

Here is some information from the government site NIDA at http://www.drugabuse.gov

How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?

When marijuana is smoked, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body. It is absorbed more slowly when ingested in food or drink.

However it is ingested, THC acts on specific molecular targets on brain cells, called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are ordinarily activated by chemicals similar to THC that naturally occur in the body (such as anandamide; see picture, above) and are part of a neural communication network called the endocannabinoid system. This system plays an important role in normal brain development and function.

The highest density of cannabinoid receptors is found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement. Marijuana overactivates the endocannabinoid system, causing the “high” and other effects that users experience. These effects include altered perceptions and mood, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and disrupted learning and memory.

Marijuana also affects brain development, and when it is used heavily by young people, its effects on thinking and memory may last a long time or even be permanent. A recent study of marijuana users who began using in adolescence revealed substantially reduced connectivity among brain areas responsible for learning and memory. And a large long-term study in New Zealand showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost an average of 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38. Importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not fully restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults. Those who started smoking marijuana in adulthood did not show significant IQ declines.


I would recommend that the child is taken to a pediatric psychiatrist for a complete psychological assessment for any brain or developmental issues.

I would also recommend that the child no longer have any exposure to second hand smoke from either marijuana or cigarettes. Each of us is totally unique and may be effected differently by different things.

This child seems to be showing signs that they are being effected by the smoke. So, the sooner the exposure to smoke is stopped the more likely that the effects will be either reversible or at the very least limited.

Good Luck,

Debbie

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