University of Washington Study to Pay Pregnant Mothers to Smoke Marijuana

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A new study, conducted at the University of Washington, will involve pregnant mothers using cannabis, otherwise known as marijuana, to see if it will affect infants. The university received over $190,000 in funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for the study, where pregnant mothers will be taking marijuana from first trimester to the last trimester of their pregnancies.

The study recruited 70 subjects, with half of the subjects taking marijuana at least twice a week to handle morning sickness, with the other half taking prescribed medication instead of marijuana. Each participant who completes the study will receive $300. Participants are supposed to document their weekly marijuana use by sending photos of the packaging to the study’s researchers.

Specifically, researchers are investigating whether cannabidiol (known as CBD) or tetrahydrocannabionol (THC) will affect the babies’ brain development. The study will conduct brain scans on the infants when they reach six months of age to see if there were any impacts from their mothers using marijuana, and whether brain disorders will develop. The researchers also hope to discover whether the use of marijuana will affect an infant’s sense of smell.

Current research hints at problems for infants when their mothers use marijuana, but it has not deterred the University of Washington or the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Editor’s note: The article has been updated to note that CBD and THC are being tested to see if they will affect babies’ brain development.