Cannabis exposure during pregnancy may result in obesity and insulin resistance in children according to shocking new research published by the Endocrine Society.

“There’s this misconception that cannabis is safe,” said study author Brianna Moore, an assistant professor at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, Colorado.

“So some women may use it in pregnancy, thinking that it’s a safe alternative to other medicines, even prescribed medications,” Moore said. “Yet studies show connections between marijuana use during pregnancy and low-birth weight in babies and behavioral problems later in childhood, and there may be links to glucose and weight issues as well.”

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Cannabis use during pregnancy: risk of obesity and insulin resistance

Cannabis use among pregnant women is on the rise, but the health risks to the developing child are not yet sufficiently understood.

A 2016 study in Colorado, for instance, showed that just over 1/5 of pregnant women had detectable levels of cannabinoids (THC and CBD) in their body. A 2019 analysis of nearly 500,000 American women by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found cannabis use in pregnancy had more than doubled between in the fifteen years between 2002 and 2017.

CBD is popular because it is marketed as being “nonpsychoactive,” so that consumers can reap health benefits from the plant without the “high”. CBD is advertised as providing relief for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep problems.

“We found that cannabis use during pregnancy was linked to increased fat mass percentage and fasting glucose levels in 5-year-old children,” said Brianna Moore.

“We would encourage women to refrain from using any cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding to minimize adverse health effects in the offspring.”

The researchers studied urine samples from 103 pregnant women, 15% of whom had detectable levels of cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) in their urine.

Five years later, their children had higher fat mass and fasting glucose levels compared to children who were not exposed to cannabis during pregnancy.

Sleeping less than four hours a night linked to higher body fat, shocking new study

body fat

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic discovered that a lack of sleep is linked to eating more during the day. This in turn leads to increased accumulation of visceral fat, a deeper form of fat that has been linked to various health problems, including heart and kidney problems.

The researchers examine the sleep and eating patterns of 12 people who were not obese. The participants had four days to adjust to the study environment, before the study began.

For the following two weeks, one group were placed in a restricted sleep schedule, as part of which they slept for four hours a night, while the other group slept for nine. Each group had the same access to food throughout the study.

The researchers observed that people who slept less were more likely to eat more in the early days of sleep deprivation. People sleeping less than four hours a night ate an extra 300 calories compared to when they first started and slept for nine hours. Each person ate approximately 13 percent more protein and 17 percent more fat.

Click here to read more about why sleeping less can be very bad for you indeed

“Being underweight at birth can put babies in danger of what is called postnatal catch-up growth, in which they grow “really fast to compensate,” Moore said.

“They’ll grow so fast they may overcompensate, which actually puts them at risk for obesity, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes later in life. That’s why our study was designed to go back when the children were older to see how they fared.”

“The concern is that relative to their body size, they have more fat mass, which over the long term could put them at risk for metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes and other conditions later in life.”

Moore recommends that “women should refrain from using when they’re pregnant or breastfeeding.”

“And if no one’s told them marijuana isn’t actually safe to use in pregnancy, that messaging really needs to get out there. “

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