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Is it safe to use marijuana during pregnancy?

Published On: 18 February 2020

Laws and attitudes about marijuana have shifted greatly in recent years. Thirty-three states, including the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana use. This has resulted in an uptick of pregnant women turning to medical marijuana as an alternative to treating common pregnancy ailments such as nausea, lack of appetite, anxiety, migraines and back pain. While there are studies that show cannabis has been linked to helping alleviate these kinds of ailments, we must ask the question, is medical marijuana safe to use during pregnancy?

Medical marijuana during pregnancy

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that obstetrician-gynecologists counsel women against using cannabis while trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, and while they are breastfeeding. This is due to the potential of marijuana negatively impacting the fetus’ developing brain. There is some research indicating a link between using pot during pregnancy and future developmental and hyperactivity disorders in children. Unfortunately, there is still lack of research providing compelling evidence as to how safe, or unsafe, marijuana use is during pregnancy.

Potential risks to using marijuana While Pregnant

A study performed in 2016 found that women who used marijuana at least once a week while pregnant were more likely to deliver prematurely and more likely to have babies with low birth weights (Grey, 2019). It is important to point out that the researchers of this study noted that women who use cannabis more frequently also tend to use more tobacco and other drugs, which might help account for their findings. Additional research has linked marijuana use during pregnancy to long-term neurological effects in children. This suggests that children of mothers who used marijuana while pregnant may be at increased risk of poor academic performance and behavioral challenges as the child develops.

Marijuana use during pregnancy: Yea or Nay

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise against the use of marijuana during pregnancy as it can be potentially harmful to the baby’s health. The active chemicals in marijuana (specifically, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) pass through the mother’s system to the baby, resulting in potential risks to the baby’s development. Lack of research surrounding the use of pot during pregnancy leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Given the potential adverse risks, it’s advisable to refrain from using any cannabis products during pregnancy. Until more scientific research is available, with definitive evidence about the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy, it’s best to stay clear from cannabis for the safety of the unborn child.

Grey, H. (2019, July 22) Here’s Why Experts Are Worried About Marijuana Use During Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/more-women-are-using-marijuana-during-pregnancy-heres-what-can-happen#Cannabis-use-may-pose-risks-during-pregnancy

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