The University of Washington is recruiting pot-smoking pregnant women to participate in a study conducted by its Radiology Department, and is paying the expectant mothers to continue to smoke weed throughout their pregnancies so researchers can track the drug's impact on babies.
CampusReform reported that the study — dubbed "Moms + Marijuana" — is being partially funded with nearly $200,000 in federal tax dollars from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
What are the details?
According to the university's website, researchers are looking for women who are less than 13 weeks pregnant, "and must either consume marijuana frequently or not at all." If accepted, test subjects will be paid $300 to complete the program, which entails three drug tests during pregnancy and an assessment of their baby's development at six months of age.
The project study explains that researchers "will recruit 35 pregnant women who are using cannabis to alleviate morning sickness and 35 pregnant women who are using prescribed medication for morning sickness."
KOMO-TV reported that "throughout their pregnancies, test group subjects will have to report weekly pot use, purchase marijuana only from licensed sellers, and send photos of the product's packaging for researchers to record percentages of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), pot's active ingredient and cannabidiol (CBD), a non-active compound whose potential therapeutic properties are the focus of the current investigation."
Moms + Marijuana project leader Dr. Natalia Kleinhans said in a press release, "This study is targeting a very specific population of women who are using marijuana to manage their symptoms while they're pregnant. There's little research to back up the medical and public health advice they're getting to stay away from pot to control nausea."
Yet, the study's summary notes "prior research also likely underestimated potential risks of cannabis use during pregnancy because modern strains are 3x more potent than they were 30 years ago."
CampusReform cites several examples of previous studies pointing to the potential for harm to babies whose mothers use marijuana, which critics say serve as reason enough to forego using human subjects for such research.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life told the outlet, "A civil society does not experiment on preborn infants. This is not even a hard issue to understand as a child's long-term health and well being are at stake."