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What is Moms + Marijuana?

When the morning sickness starts to kick in, you might start to wonder: is using marijuana to alleviate nausea safe for your baby? Most studies of prenatal cannabis exposure have focused on addiction, with pregnant participants using alcohol and other substances in addition to marijuana. (Learn more about the existing evidence on marijuana in pregnancy here, and about the evidence on other drugs and anti-nausea medications in pregnancy here.) That's why University of Washington researchers, led by Natalia Kleinhans, PhD and Stephen Dager, M.D., are recruiting participants for a new study designed to look at the effects of marijuana alone on prenatal development. If you participate, you will meet with researchers approximately three times during pregnancy, then bring in your baby when they are between 6-18 months old for behavioral assessments and an MRI scan. Remote behavioral assessments will be conducted. All study procedures are approved for confidentiality and safety by the University of Washington Human Subjects Division. This study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Why should I participate?

You will have the opportunity to receive digital images of your baby's brain, along with a developmental report and feedback session by phone with the licensed psychologist who conducts the behavioral assessments. We do not expect to find anything of medical concern during the infant MRI scans, but if we do see anything in the images that may indicate a health issue, you will be referred to a physician. You will also help provide reliable information to others who want to make informed decisions about their pregnancies in the future. You will earn up to $320 for completing all parts of the study. Continued marijuana use is not required to complete participation in this study.

What should I expect if I participate?

If you participate, you will meet with researchers while you are pregnant to complete urine-based drug tests and questionnaires. During pregnancy, you will fill out secure surveys online each week documenting your daily use of marijuana products, other substances, and medications, in addition to questions related to mood and nausea. All information that you provide as part of this study is kept confidential.

After you give birth, we will make sure you still qualify for the study with a phone interview, and then you and your baby will visit us when your baby is between 6-18 months old. Visit activities include infant developmental examinations by a licensed clinical psychologist, parent questionnaires, and an MRI brain scan for your baby in the evening. During the brain scan, your baby will be sleeping naturally. Our MRI scan does not involve any radiation, and an experienced researcher will be there the entire time to make sure your baby is safe and comfortable.

Who can participate?

Participants must be 21-40 years of age, and must either consume cannabis frequently or not at all. Though we have officially closed enrollment for this study, we hope to continue this research. Stay tuned for research findings from this current study, and for future opportunities to participate in related studies!