Like almost every topic surrounding cannabis, the discussion about marijuana and pregnancy features warring sides and strong opinions in both camps. In general, we at Growers Choice recommend abstaining from any extraneous substances during your pregnancy, unless a doctor has given you the go-ahead, but today we’re going to take a look at the arguments – made up largely of anecdotal evidence – on both sides of this topic.
Social Perception of Using Cannabis During Pregnancy
Considering the fact that using cannabis in general has yet to find widespread acceptability, it’s no surprise pregnant mothers who use the plant run the risk of being privately or publicly shamed. But do they deserve this reaction? The evidence is far from conclusive, since running a clinical study that encourages women to use a potentially harmful substance while pregnant raises all sorts of ethical questions.
What Do The Doctors Say About Pregnant Women and Cannabis?
Most doctors admit the effects of using cannabis while pregnant aren’t known. It’s true that what research there has been shows marijuana doesn’t appear to cause “obvious birth defects”. That said, defects in a newborn child aren’t the only potential concerns.
When you use cannabis – whether you smoke it, vaporize it, or eat it – it eventually enters your bloodstream, and that part of your body is intricately connected to your unborn baby. We all know that things you do or eat or drink during pregnancy can affect the fetus (babies being born addicted to heroin is an extreme example). So, the question is, what does the presence of marijuana do to a baby?
It seems the most likely potential problems lie in the area of brain development – something that usually can’t be detected prior to birth or even in the first few years. We encourage young people to avoid marijuana until their brains are fully developed for this exact reason; some studies have even found that cannabis’ mental benefits for adults can be detrimental to underdeveloped brains. It makes sense, then, that exposing the very youngest of children to marijuana could cause later issues.
More on women’s issues:
“Cannabis and PMS”
Pregnancy and Marijuana: Do The Benefits Outweigh the Potential Risks?
Of course, when we establish that anything you take is going to affect your baby in some way (either completely innocuously, causing great harm, or somewhere in between), it just makes sense to weigh the risks of marijuana use against the drugs you might need to take if you aren’t taking marijuana.
If you use cannabis purely for recreational reasons, it might be best to hold off while you’re pregnant. But if you’re taking marijuana as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals, there’s a risk/reward consideration to be made.
If you’re struggling with depression or other mood disorders during your pregnancy, and your options are an SSRI or marijuana, perhaps you’ll choose the more natural option. Even though many SSRIs are considered relatively safe to use during pregnancy, they have been very loosely linked to possible rare birth defects. Cannabis has not, but that could also be due to lack of studies.
What about using cannabis to fight the nausea of morning sickness? If your options are a morning sickness drug or putting your and your baby’s health at risk from too much vomiting, you might opt for marijuana. One popular morning sickness drug called Diclectin, which was initially determined safe for use by pregnant women, was later shown to have some faint potential for birth defects.
Ultimately, if you need to take some kind of medication while pregnant, and cannabis has been known to help your symptoms or conditions, moderate use of this all-natural product should probably be on the list of possibilities.
Using Tobacco and Cannabis While Pregnant
One final word about cannabis and pregnancy. Though cannabis use alone hasn’t been linked to birth issues, the combination of cigarettes and pot has been. Babies of mothers-to-be who use both substances are at increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight.
What do you think? Did you use marijuana when you were pregnant, or decide against it for a specific reason? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter – get in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter!