How Smoking Marijuana Damages The Fetal Brain

  How Smoking Marijuana Damages The Fetal Brain

Posted by CN Staff on May 24, 2007 at 13:44:00 PT
Press Release 
Source:  Science Daily 

USA -- A critical step in brain development is governed by endogenous cannabinoids, 'the brain's own marijuana'. Studies conducted at Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet, with participation of scientists from Europe and the United States, are now published in Science and show that these endogenous molecules regulate how certain nerve cells recognize each other and form connections. The scientists believe that their findings will significantly advance our understanding of how cannabis smoking during pregnancy may damage the fetal brain.
The formation of connections among nerve cells occurs during a relatively short period in the fetal brain. However, proper wiring of hundreds of millions of cells in our brains determine whether we can think, remember, move, or show emotions throughout our lives. For a nerve cell, recognizing its partners and establish connections with them is the key to survive and contribute to the control of brain functions. The process through which nerve cells recognize each other is guided by specific chemical signals whose availability instructs neurons to target or to ignore specific cells. Scientists have now identified that endogenous cannabinoids, molecules naturally produced by our brains and functionally similar to THC from cannabis, play unexpectedly significant roles in establishing how certain nerve cells connect to each other. These new and exciting results not only bolster out knowledge on the brain's normal development but may also take us closer to understanding if and when cannabis damages the fetal brain. Endogenous cannabinoids use the same mechanism, engaging the CB1 cannabinoid receptor, as THC to exert their effects on nerve cells. Therefore, the finding that endogenous cannabinoids control the establishment of connections amongst certain nerve cells convinces the scientists that they have defined a key mechanism through which maternal cannabis use might impair fetal brain development and impose life-long cognitive, social, and motor deficits in affected offspring. "Besides identifying a fundamental mechanism in brain development, our findings may provide new perspectives to identifying the molecular changes in the brains of individuals prenatally affected by maternal cannabis abuse", says Dr. Tibor Harkany who has led the studies. "This is of social impact given the continuous growing use of marijuana, the most common illicit drug, in our society." Earlier studies have already found that children of marijuana-smoking mothers more frequently suffer from permanent cognitive deficits, concentration disorders, hyperactivity, and impaired social interactions than non-exposed children of the same age and social background.Reference: "Hardwiring the Brain: Endocannabinoids Shape Neuronal Connectivity", Paul Berghius, Ann M Rajnicek, Yury M Morozov, Ruth A Ross, Jan Mulder, Gabriella M Urbán, Krisztina Monory, Giovanni Marsicano, Michela Matteoli, Alison Canty, Andrew J Irving, István Katona, Yuchio Yanagawa, Pasko Rakic, Beat Lutz, Ken Mackie and Tibor Harkany, Science, May 25, 2007Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Karolinska Institutet.Source: Karolinska Institutet Source: Science Daily (MD)Published: May 24, 2007 Copyright: 2007 ScienceDaily LLCContact:  editor sciencedaily.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #24 posted by paulpeterson on May 29, 2007 at 15:49:29 PT
Fish Oil vs. Hemp Seed OilHemp Seed oil has "plant base" Omega 3-which is hard to utilize by humans-especially if they are mucked up by TFA's, alcohol toxicity, fatigue or disease states-the person loses the delta 5 & 7 desaturase enzymes. At best, only 5-10% is converted to "animal" Omega 3. The rest might just sit in the gastric system and increase risk of Prostate cancer in men.Hemp seed only has about 18% Omega 3-Flax seed has a whopping 50% Omega 3-much higher.Fish oil comes from an oceanic environment-and may be high in mercury levels (some companies tout fancy dudad ways of ensuring the mercury is caught at the pass).The answer? Create a land-based feeding program to encourage large mammals to eat high levels of flax seed in a balanced diet. Then impart a high Omega 3 level to livestock diets. My first experiment started in fall of 2004. Results: I imparted high levels of Omega 3 to livestock meat (pork & beef)-the wierd thing was I got stoned each time I ate the meats!When I had the meats tested in 2006, the Omega 3 was not out of the ballpark-but it did have an ideal balance 1 to 2 1/2 or so (Omega 3 to Omega 6).Then I found how important Trans Fatty Acids were to the equation-You see, TFA's muck up the whole works. If it could do that to me, still a human, it probably does the same thing in every cattle feed lot in America. You see, every feed manufacturor "kills" the essential fatty acids, and then tells the farmer not to worry-just feed EFA's in the final feed formula-corn oil that is (all Omega 6, no less).That means EVERY meat product delivered to the grocery store is imbalanced to Omega 6-basically highly inflammatory.Now I know the "buzz" factor was from "Oleomide", an Omega 9 product (think olive oil or oats). You see, each Essential Fatty Acid has the potential to turn into a buzz product-all "endocannabinoids" are formed from EFA's. But if you are violating your body with TFA's, you lose the critical enzyme package and can't bring home the bacon here (the buzz bacon, that is).In other words, all of those horrible effects on fetus growth and maturity-from "chemocal toxicity", etc., all happens because the person has lost all protective endocannabinoids-of course that is why marijuana turns out to be the last ditch effort to stop many disease systems at the pass-if everybody hadn't been primed for the pump of disease-with TFA's-we might never have discovered just how beneficial cannabis might have been.In 2006, the FDA mandated that TFA contents must be copiously noted on all food packages-Now, already, breast cancer incidence has started to fall from historical high levels. Ralph Nader made the food companies put it in in 1982 (as a substitute for saturated fatty acids, which aren't as bad). And now, finally, the FDA did something good for a change. But the FDA still holds that TFA's are "generally safe as a food additive".
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on May 27, 2007 at 08:37:38 PT
We don't hear much about it...
but they have linked grooming products, shampoo, lotions, cosmetics, gels, etc. and cleaning products of the last few years or so, to serious fetus malformations...especially male fetuses and effecting the reproductive organs.It's very distressing.
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Comment #22 posted by museman on May 26, 2007 at 10:30:27 PT
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. I happen to be one of those whose time as a baby was severely messed with due to irradiated milk. Most of the cows in the midwest were affected during the nuclear testing from the late forties all the way into the sixties - when they started doing undeground tests. Those clouds of radiation blew right up the eastern slope of the rockies and out into the plains. Most commercial milk producers were affected, and even most of the small farms which were still in business at the time.Thyroid, kidney, diabetes, and some of the peripheral problems associated. I was one of the luckier ones, in that I personally was able to overcome some of the more limiting factors of the toxic damage.The status quo of the fifties told our mothers that it was 'bad form' not 'modern' and in xtian circles it was considered 'dirty' to breast feed your child. Those of us whose mothers who listened paid the price.The fact that this common sense knowlege is now being hailed as a 'new discovery' is probably because they think that we don't know what they did to us. Their authority was false, and damaging then. As far as I can tell nothing has changed, except to get worse.One cannot trust the motivations of these people, especially when it is absolutely starkly clear that it is all about money and power. Very few people -if any- are capable of wielding power without becoming more of a source of problem than solution. Authority, is not learned or taught. You cannot 'achieve' it through study and university. It is not something you may posess merely by some embossed paper document on your wall. Authority is appointed by the Spirit at the time it is needed, it does not sit in office waiting to be needed. Humanity is not qualified to appoint such authority, they can barely even recognize it when they see it.Before these last days are done, those facts are going to become clear to everyone.The tools and devices of current 'civilization' aren't all bad, or corrupt, but as long as we labor under the illusions that certain classes of people are 'authority' and power, just because they can afford to pay, or are ruthless and callous enough to trod on others on their way to the competitive 'top,' then the tools and devices of their corruption -even the 'good' things are going to be destroyed by the inevitable house cleaning that is poised at the threshold of 'any moment now.'Holding on to false authority, and supporting false power by mistaken and misplaced faith, belief, and trust is only going to lead to painful experience as all those false things are ripped away, directly proportunate to ones attachment to them. Credibility does not exist within the current framework of 'established authority' and we should not be giving it any either. As long as we supply the actual real energy to keep the beast plundering on, through our forced labor, through our compromise with what we all know in our hearts to be false -for the sake of comfort and entertainment, then we are inviting and hastening the disastrous consequences.Today is the middle of Sabbath - the real one, not the deliberate diffused and confused Constantinian 'Sun-worship-day' put in place to undermine mans natural abilities to commune with YHWH and Creation. The lies and errors are like the demons YSHWH cast into the swine, "legion." They are embraced within the hearts and minds of millions, and every one (of the lies and compromises) will burn with the cleansing fire of truth and Spirit. If one is so much intricated within those corruptions, that there is no longer any clear distinctions they too will burn.Though the powers that rule have tried, through several blanket-style polgroms, -irradiated milk, VietNam, the WOD -for example- to destroy me, and those of my generation who have chosen to esteem the truth above all else, they have failed. Though those of us who still live, suffer from failing bodies and life systems, and many, many were killed, imprisoned, or discredited by the upholders of the status quo, the truth is not dependent on any of us.
The truth existed before it was metamorphed into a lie, it exists right there beside the lie albeit somewhat obscured by the bright and shiny lights of Hell's Circus. No one can possess the truth. There is no such thing as 'my truth' or 'your truth' there is only THE TRUTH.If you want to know about health, pay attention to your own intuitive faculties, listen to your own heart, feel your healing power, and know that the doctors and all their legions of support personnel, depend on YOUR faith to enact the miracle of healing, so why should they get the credit, or the credibility, or the false esteem, or the exalted lifestyle? If you want freedom, ask yourself this? Whose feet walk in your shoes. Whose will decides where those feet will take you? Somebody other than you? Not on your eternal life. Only you, and you alone have that power, so why in all logic and common sense do we continue to give that sovereign power to a bunch of demonic liars and thieves?
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Comment #21 posted by BGreen on May 25, 2007 at 21:46:04 PT
Story from today's LA Times
Common chemicals pose danger for fetuses, scientists warnExposure to toxic materials in the womb can cause health problems later in life, an international panel declares.By Marla ConeTimes Staff WriterMay 25, 2007In a strongly worded declaration, many of the world's leading environmental scientists warned Thursday that exposure to common chemicals makes babies more likely to develop an array of health problems later in life, including diabetes, attention deficit disorders, prostate cancer, fertility problems, thyroid disorders and even obesity.The declaration by about 200 scientists from five continents amounts to a vote of confidence in a growing body of evidence that humans are vulnerable to long-term harm from toxic exposures in the womb and during their first years.SNIPPED---------------------- my, it looks as if cannabis exposure is the LEAST of the problems our poor fetuses face.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #20 posted by museman on May 25, 2007 at 10:25:41 PT
new job opportunity
"Cannbis Researcher."Job requirements;Must have completed High School - gradepoint level unimportant. (Sports letters a big plus.)Must swear oath to FDA, DEA, and George Bush.Must know the meaning of 'obfuscation' but never let on that they do.Clever usage of actual reasearch revealed by other non-government researchers to prove unprovable facts about cannabis.Must know how to spin.Must understand how to refuse contradictory information, no matter how substantial.Must find ways to always include "the children" as 'victims of marijuana users.Must take prescribed course 'Lying 101', the same standard indoctrination procedure given to law enforcement.Must know the diference between 'right' and 'wrong' and have the ability to ignore it.The pay is substantially higher than any other research job on the market. Any compositions that succeed in convincing the mainstream media to focus on 'the findings' will result in major financial rewards. Applications available online at, and at your local sheriffs office.
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Comment #19 posted by afterburner on May 24, 2007 at 21:48:44 PT
You Guys and Gals Said What I Was Thinking
Powerful facts, paulpeterson.Re alcohol, potpal: Governments actively promote alcohol
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on May 24, 2007 at 21:21:02 PT
Alcohol sure isn't good for a pregnant woman. There seems to be bigger issues about health then Cannabis.FDA Warning on Mislabeled Monkfish Fish Believed to be Puffer Fish; Contains Deadly ToxinMay 24, 2007The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to buy or eat imported fish labeled as monkfish, which actually may be puffer fish, containing a potentially deadly toxin called tetrodotoxin. Eating puffer fish that contain this potent toxin can result in serious illness or death. Tetrodotoxin is not destroyed by common food preparation or storage, such as cooking or freezing. Monkfish do not contain tetrodotoxin.The product was imported and distributed by Hong Chang Corp., Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Complete Press Release:***Hi Paul, It's good to see you.
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Comment #17 posted by Dankhank on May 24, 2007 at 20:55:10 PT
the fish oil ...better than hemp oil?jus wonderin'
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on May 24, 2007 at 20:48:39 PT
It was fun remembering that because it is so darn true.
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Comment #15 posted by dongenero on May 24, 2007 at 20:40:25 PT
oh boy....
sorry to send the thread off on that tangent! lol
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Comment #14 posted by dongenero on May 24, 2007 at 20:38:57 PT
There ya go FoM
Haha, thanks! That sounds much better!
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Comment #13 posted by potpal on May 24, 2007 at 19:37:29 PT
Another warning...
Re: Alcohol 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on May 24, 2007 at 17:49:30 PT

I'll Try
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on May 24, 2007 at 16:57:00 PT

trying to remember the saying....
"You may not be paranoid. They may really be out to get you."Or something like that.
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Comment #10 posted by Dankhank on May 24, 2007 at 16:51:24 PT

hey ...
Isn't it?Are you paranoid if they really ARE out to get you?wondering ...:-)
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Comment #9 posted by paulpeterson on May 24, 2007 at 16:36:54 PT

New study out about Omega 3 (fish oil) & fat loss
Just today there is a new study out about how fish oil, after exercise, loses body fat & improves blood vessal flow & cholesterol/triglyceride balance-rather illuminating (copied below)Fish oil plus exercise may banish body fat 
Wed May 23, 9:43 AM ET 
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People looking to shed body fat might want to follow their workouts with a few capsules of fish oil, if preliminary research is correct.
In a study of overweight adults, Australian researchers found that a combination of exercise and fish oil supplements was effective at reducing body fat and improving cholesterol levels and blood vessel function.
Study participants who took fish oil, alone or with exercise, saw their levels of "good" HDL cholesterol go up, while their triglycerides (an unhealthy form of blood fat) took a dip. Meanwhile, both exercise and fish oil seemed to cut body fat.
The overall benefits, according to the study authors, suggest that a combination of exercise and fish oil may improve overweight adults' cardiovascular health.
Peter R. C. Howe and colleagues at the University of South Australia in Adelaide report the findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Numerous studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish may benefit the heart, by lowering blood pressure and triglycerides, reducing the risk of blood clots and improving blood vessel function.
There's also evidence from lab studies that fish oil affects metabolism in a way that can reduce body fat, but the little research that has been done in humans has yielded conflicting findings, according to Hill's team.
For their study, the researchers randomly assigned 75 overweight adults to one of four groups: one that took 6 grams of fish oil per day; one that consumed fish oil and walked for 45 minutes three days per week; one that consumed pills containing sunflower oil; and a fourth that combined sunflower oil and walking.
After 12 weeks, the researchers found, volunteers who were taking fish oil showed greater improvements in their blood fats and blood vessel function than those who took sunflower oil.
What's more, exercise and fish oil each helped reduce body fat.
"Increasing intake of (omega-3 fatty acids) could be a useful adjunct to exercise programs aimed at improving body composition and decreasing cardiovascular disease risk," Howe and his colleagues write.
However, they point out, this is the first clinical trial to look at the cardiovascular and weight benefits of combining fish oil with exercise. More research is needed to investigate the long-term effects, the researchers conclude.
SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2007.

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Comment #8 posted by Hope on May 24, 2007 at 14:48:44 PT

Very Interesting, PaulPeterson. comment 4
Very interesting and makes so much sense. 
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Comment #7 posted by dongenero on May 24, 2007 at 14:43:33 PT

yeah, sorry for that cynicism Hope...
how's the saying go......"You're only paranoid if they aren't out to get you."
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on May 24, 2007 at 14:34:20 PT

Comment 5 Dongenero
I'll have to agree with you, Dongenero.Imagine. No hysterical cannabis prohibitionists. Sanity. Peace. Understanding. Knowledge. No prohibitionist hysterics. It would be so nice...and civilized.
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on May 24, 2007 at 14:26:41 PT

bets anyone?
Well, the highly credible and newsworthy research results from the University of California regarding medical cannabis and neuropathy pain, neuroprotective properties and lung cancer protective properties goes nowhere.What do you want to bet this junk "science" from Sweden ends up all over AP and Reuters?
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Comment #4 posted by paulpeterson on May 24, 2007 at 14:25:43 PT

fascinating article-without ANY facts
Boy was this a fascinating article! Yes, we know that the endocannabinoid system is intricately implicated in all sorts of neurological, physiological, systemic and gastrointestinal implications. Yes, we know that all sorts of critical interactions between affected neurons are forged during pregnancy.But these people don't give any real meat to the meddle here-just giving the same old same old wives' tales fear dogma, etc.I'm thinking, on the contrary, that people that eat that "trans fatty acid" stuff during pregnancy impact the endocannabinoid sytem much more substantially than does cannabis intake-it may even develop that it is at two step whammy. First, the person mucks up the natural endocannaboid system so substantially that it is like jamming a crow-bar into the cogs and wheels of a moving clock mechanism. Then, with the person in a totally "compromised" state, ANY drug that is taken, such as alcohol, nicotine, anti-depressants or cannabis, will have too great of an impact on these critical developmental phases and cause long term imbalances for the fetus.Trans Fatty Acids, you see, either block the blood-brain barrier and preclude necessary chemicals getting across the border to the action, or interdict the critical conversion enzyme architecture, or inhibit utilization of such things at the receptor site areas. It may be, in fact, that "strong" chemicals like THC are among the minority of such chemicals that CAN cross a blocked blood brain barrier-meaning that the avoidance of TFA's will be found to be more critical to infant development than avoidance of cannabis. Other classes of chemicals to avoid: HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), because it causes the same blockage (probably from excessive production of triglycerides that are also known to muck up the Brandenberg Gate). HFCS also blocks a class of chemicals like Leptin (the stomach shut-off chemical). Leptin, if blocked from the brain gate, and if it can't get across fat cell membranes-causes breast cancer.Which brings me to the Omega 3/Omega 6 balance: Too much corn products (Omega 6) without any Omega 3 (fish oil, algae, green grass products-including onions, etc., flax seed, chia seeds) makes your cell walls too thick and resistent to insulin, leptin and other chemicals. Omega 3 infusion thins out the cell walls and helps chemotherapy & radiation treatment get through to tumor cells also. And thinning out the walls of fat cells allows leptin to get through-leptin actually triggers "programmed cell death" to fat cells, which helps a body lose weight naturally. It also is a very good appetite suppressant.Omega 3 also increases oxygen perfusion and de-acidifies the blood stream, both of which effects decrease the chances of cancer progression. Further, decreasing a toxic load of Omega 6 will naturally stop PMS-which is caused by a drop in hormone levels causing all cells to purge Arachinodic Acid (from Omega 6) which is responsible FOR ALL PMS SYMPTOMS. (PMS, and most other chronic and degenerative disease systems, including cancer, are all due to a chronic "inflammatory" pattern, which triggers the wrong genes to turn on, repetitively-which is why cannabis chemicals are all known to help stop inflammatory disease patterns, right?)The bottom line here? These people are only scratching the surface about the endocannabinoid system. Everything else a person eats and takes in-is more responsible for the anomalies of brain connection & neurotransmitter imbalance syndromes which sometimes do develop in utero-than smoking a little weed.Of course, if a young lady is considering becomming pregnant, and won't lose the other known risk factors-like eating toxic North American meat products (all of which are pumped with TFA's, Omega 6 & High Fructose Corn Syrup-which is why they become toxic), true, during the first trimester that susceptible young mother should abstain from any cannabis, which will likewise tweek the system, if everything else is out of whack.And thanks for listening, folks. PAUL PETERSON, ENDOCANNABINOID RESEARCHER, Northwest Iowa.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 24, 2007 at 14:20:33 PT

What Would Happen 
I wonder how the fetal brain would develop if the mother was on a legal prescription anti-depressant or a legal pain medicine?
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on May 24, 2007 at 14:12:53 PT

This is NOT Science! May this or may that...
Just remember this article is from rabid prohibitionist Sweden and it certainly is not science. What about the 'damage' excess endocannabinoids cause? May this and may that is BS Science. Way to go Sweden you are discrediting yourselves in a big way.
Nobody can stop this!
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on May 24, 2007 at 14:05:21 PT

What a title!.....whew!
That's an awfully certain and strong title given the wishy washy uncertainty and conjecture of the body of the article.Well, not being a woman, nor a woman of child bearing age, nor a woman of child bearing age trying to get pregnant, nor a woman of child bearing age who is trying to get pregnant and has successfully done doesn't matter to me how much they guess about it.There are many things a pregnant woman should not do; smoke cigarettes, eat non-organic meats, fruits, vegetable or grains or dairy products that contain residual hormones, pesticides and herbicides. How about if they just report the facts until they really know something? Oh, but I'm still living back in the age when actual scientific procedure was revered. Maybe another conjecture from this is that indeed Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to the grocery store 3000 years ago. (sorry about that tangent. I had to work that in a bit folks).
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