HealthDay News — Fetal exposure to cannabis is associated with increased adiposity and fasting glucose in childhood, according to a study published online March 31 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Brianna F. Moore, Ph.D., from The University of Texas Health Science Center in Austin, and colleagues examined the impact of fetal exposure to cannabis on adiposity and glucose-insulin traits in early life in a subsample of 103 mother-child pairs. Cannabinoids/metabolites of cannabis were measured in maternal urine collected at about 27 weeks of gestation. Fat mass and fat-free mass were measured at a mean age of 4.7 years.

The researchers found that about 15 percent of the women had detectable levels of any cannabinoid, indicative of fetal cannabis exposure. Compared with nonexposed offspring, exposed offspring had higher fat mass (1.0 kg), fat-free mass (1.2 kg), adiposity (2.6 percent), and fasting glucose (5.6 mg/dL). There were no associations observed with fasting insulin in the fully adjusted model or with a homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, body mass index (BMI), or BMI z-scores.


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“We provide novel evidence to suggest an association between fetal exposure to cannabis with increased adiposity and fasting glucose in childhood, a finding that should be validated in other cohorts,” the authors write. “Nevertheless, women should be discouraged from using any cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding to minimize adverse health effects of the offspring.”

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