With more efforts being made to research marijuana, a study at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is underway to investigate the effects of marijuana use in pregnant mothers.
Assistant Professor Torri Metz, MD was recently awarded a Child and Maternal Health Pilot Grant by the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, which will be used to develop a questionnaire for pregnant mothers focusing on their use of marijuana.
Doctors typically discourage use of marijuana during pregnancy, along with other substances that pass the blood brain barrier. This recommendation is somewhat speculative since there is limited data to support their advice.
“If you look at the literature now, you find very mixed results,” Metz said.
“About half of the studies say there is an association between marijuana use and adverse outcomes; about half say there is no association.”
Metz’s specialty is in high-risk pregnancy, and she performs obstetrics duties at University of Colorado Hospital.
As marijuana continues to be legalized at the state level, patients seem more apt to report their use to physicians.
“I am seeing more and more self-reported marijuana use in the clinic,”
“I don’t know if this is a reflection of women using more marijuana or of the women being more willing to tell us about their use.”
In addition to the questionnaire, researchers will interview pregnant mothers, who have consented to the study, on their use of marijuana and compare it with tissue samples taken from the umbilical cord. The combined data will be used to create a method of gathering data for future studies. This baseline process will help determine if marijuana has an effect on premature births, hypertension in pregnant mothers (which can lead to preeclampsia), stillbirths, and other complications.
“These are the obstetric issues we face every day and we don’t understand the impact of marijuana use on these outcomes,” said Metz. “I want to change that.
Previously, the topic of marijuana on both network and cable television has been limited to reality shows, 60-minute specials and the occasional antics of Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Kimmel. But that is starting to change.
The most recent Gallup poll reported 58 percent of the country supports cannabis legalization, and some states have had medical marijuana programs for over a decade. It is a consistent topic of conversation on social media and in presidential debates. Seeing that marijuana is part of millions of American’s lives, tv networks are starting to test the waters.
HBO is seeing the genius in High Maintenance, an already-successful web series on Vimeo. While the politics of an independent web series becoming property of an entertainment juggernaut has sparked debate among fans, HBO has ordered six episodes with the potential for more.
It is worth noting that many of the new projects are using legal marijuana dispensaries as a backdrop to their stories. Parks & Recreation’s Adam Scott is set to produce a show for NBC along with his wife, producer Naomi Scott, about life in a legal Colorado dispensary. Kevin Smith is so excited about his show “Hollyweed” that he foot the bill for the pilot. It also centers around life in a marijuana dispensary, and is being sponsored by companies within the cannabis industry. Margaret Cho is part of Highland, a series for Amazon about life in a dispensary owned by her parents. This show will have more of a dramatic bent, with Cho’s character attending court-ordered rehab.
A script co-written by Chuck Lorre and David Javerbaum is being shown to major networks and direct-to-consumer providers like Netflix. The plot involves an ensemble cast of coworkers at a Colorado dispensary. Lorre and Javerbaum have 24 emmys between them, which might be enough to convince networks to pick up the show.
These projects involve enough influential actors, producers and networks to signify that cannabis culture will start to appear in mainstream entertainment more frequently. Stay tuned.