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Children whose mothers use marijuana are more likely to try it at an early age
According to a new study, when mothers consume cannabis in the first 12 years of their children’s lives, children who use marijuana are more likely to start earlier than children of non-consuming mothers.
This longitudinal study is the first to establish a link between a mother’s use and cannabis consumption during the life of her child. While also examining a child’s behavior and initial trial of marijuana in their own life. Early onset is one of the most powerful predictors of the likelihood of marijuana impacting health.
Developing deeper and more sophisticated understanding of social risk factors for early initiation is a critical step in designing and implementing interventions. Understanding a mother’s use of cannabis and adding it to our knowledge base, helps us document risk factors. The data can help us better identify young people who are at risk for early trial of cannabis and allow us to implement more appropriate and effective prevention strategies. “Natasha A. Sokol, ScD, currently at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Public Health School, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. UU.
The researchers analyzed two related cohorts, the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (waves 1980-1998) and children and young adults (waves 1988-2014), to assess the timing and extent of the use and initiation of maternal and infant marijuana.
They evaluated the data of 4,440 children and 2,586 mothers on the effects of maternal marijuana use between the birth of a child and age 12. This helped control for the essential factors related to the behavior and cognition of young children. The socio-economic position and the social environment of the family were also important factors. A total of 2,983 children (67.2%) and 1,053 mothers (35.3%) declared themselves cannabis users.
The researchers found that children whose mothers used marijuana had a higher risk of pregnancy before age 17 and began at age 16, compared to 18 years of age among non-users.
Although marijuana is generally considered less harmful than other drugs, the likelihood that marijuana affects health is strongly associated with age at the beginning. So those beginning earlier have a much higher risk. Adverse consequences may be particularly pronounced in children and adolescents during these critical developmental times. The use of cannabis in children and adolescents is associated with a decrease in attention, concentration, decision-making, and memory, as well as an increase in impulsivity that can last several weeks after consumption.
With evidence that some cognitive effects, including IQ reduction, may persist into adulthood. Cannabis users were also associated with earlier onset and risk of anxiety and depressive disorders.
The United States is currently undergoing a sea change over marijuana. It is expected that this cultural change will increase the frequency, visibility, or acceptability of marijuana use in adults. Understanding the impact of parental use on the early onset of marijuana is an essential step in anticipating how social, environmental changes can alter the burden of marijuana-related disease in the United States.
The results indicate that children of parents who use marijuana may be an essential subgroup for early identification and intervention based on evidence from pediatricians and health care providers for adolescents. More research is needed in the future to understand and provide specific recommendations. Marijuana prescribers and other physicians may consider educating parents who use marijuana while pregnant. Healthcare providers could offer them evidence-based prevention strategies to delay their use while pregnant and hopefully help delay Marijuana usage with their children.
Additional research may seek to understand best practices to prevent early initiation, such as decreasing or suspending use, reducing the visibility of use until children are older, and providing training tools and resources to help solve these problems.