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Straight Dope (part 3 of 4)

By Hempology | March 12, 2007

The Research on Marijuana Safety

(Part 3 of 4) by Gary Stimeling

Copyright 2005 Psychotropics Cornucopia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Pregnancy and Genetic Defects The genetic-damage scare of the late 1960s and early 1970s was similar to other marijuana scare stories of the period. A couple of tentative reports([1]) got a lot of media play, were quietly and thoroughly disproved,([2]) and are still touted by suppressionists. When pregnant females of some (but not all) species of lab rodents are fed enormous amounts of THC during some (but not all) parts of the gestation period, their litters include many stillbirths and genetic defects. However, offspring of some animals heavily smoked while pregnant show these defects when their mothers are fed a protein-deficient diet but seldom when the diet is adequate, so other factors may compound and confound the results.([3]) Drug effects on reproduction are species-specific, so animal studies in this area are of doubtful relevance to humans.([4]) Studies on primates, probably more germane, have shown no reproductive effects,([5]) even when pregnant chimpanzees were given daily megadoses of THC for five months.([6]) In any case, as pharmacologist Leo Hollister has noted, “Virtually every drug that has been studied for dysmorphogenic [birth-defect-causing] effects has been found to have them if the doses are high enough, if enough species were tested, or if treatment is prolonged.?

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