You are here: HomeNewsHealth2023 01 13Article 620885

Health News of Friday, 13 January 2023


Babies exposed to marijuana risk kidney, liver damage —Psychiatrists

Marijuana Marijuana

Mental health experts have cautioned Nigerians against exposing infants to marijuana, noting that the substance can cause serious health problems including kidney and liver damage in children.

The psychiatrists stressed that marijuana and other recreational drugs should be kept away from babies as they could cause more serious damage to infants.

The experts were reacting to a trending video of a yet-to-be-identified man sharing a substance, suspected to be marijuana, with an infant.

Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Consultant Psychiatrist and Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Femi Olugbile, said giving marijuana and other recreational drugs to babies is very risky.

Dr. Olugbile who is a retired Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health and a former Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital said, “Marijuana intake by babies has both chemical and psychological consequences because their liver is too fragile to handle the deleterious effects and their kidneys cannot excrete it”.

When asked if infants were more susceptible to the negative impact of these substances, he said, “They are more susceptible to the negative impact of the harmful substances as their livers and kidneys cannot metabolise large quantities of it like adults.”

Also speaking with our correspondent, Psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Dr. Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri, said it is wrong and dangerous to expose babies to marijuana.

Dr. Kadiri who is the CEO of Pinnacle Medical Services Limited and the Convener of the Mental Wellness Virtual Summit stressed the need to implement the relevant laws already in place to adequately protect children against such dangerous exposures.

She said: “The new law signed by President Buhari has not yet been gazetted and so I don’t want to comment too early on it so as not to misinterpret it when it is yet to have a gazette status.

“However, there are child protection laws in Nigeria that take care of the interests of Nigerian children including their health”.

When asked how Nigeria can better protect children from being exposed to marijuana and other recreational drugs by adults, she said, “The battle has to start from every household – how are we parenting right now? Before you start pointing fingers at schools, individuals, and society, it must begin with good home training of the children because it’s adults who are exposing these kids to these dangerous substances.

“Parents have to be emotionally intelligent and intentional as well as decisive. There are lots of accidental parents these days. They aren’t prepared for the challenges, unlike the older generation.

“Parents like the example given above of the man feeding the baby with marijuana should be prosecuted”.

According to a recent study published online by Medical News Today, the use of marijuana has been linked to mental health problems, testicular cancer, and respiratory disease in adults.

Also, a study conducted by Healthline listed some of the side effects of marijuana as memory challenges, impaired judgement, dopamine release, weakened immune system, and adverse effects on the respiratory, digestive, circulation, and central nervous systems.