A team of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan will study the effects cannabis use during pregnancy has on the brain development of a fetus a mother is carrying.
Robert Laprairie is an assistant professor and research chair with the college of pharmacy and nutrition, he says so far most of the data available is observational in nature, the USask study will use special equipment to provide cannabis smoke to rats. He says they have purchased special equipment that can vent cannabis smoke to cages with pregnant rats, once the rat pups are born, they will track their progress as the age.
Laprairie explains that rats are used because they are a lot like people genetically and in terms of how they respond to cannabis. Laprairie suggests that they should have results or know more by the summer. His hypothesis is that they will see greater levels of anxiety in the baby rats and that they will underperform in memory testing.
Laprairie say next steps will include testing different types of cannabis and potentially looking at other outcomes, like pre-disposition to substances and addiction.
He is one of 20 Canadian neuroscientists to be awarded $100,000 as part of Brain Canada’s Future Leaders in Canadian Brain Research Program.
Laprairie explains the research team also consists of USask neuroscientist John Howland, and PhD students Ayat Zagzoog and Tallan Black.