Motherhood is an absolutely beautiful thing. Pregnancy is indescribable and often filled with worries, excitement, lots of planning, exhaustion, and nausea. Women are goddesses! Our bodies create and carry human life! With that being said, every pregnancy is different, every mother is different, and everyone is entitled to their own personal choice, especially when it comes to smoking cannabis while pregnant.
As more states legalize cannabis, speculation exists around a rise in the use of cannabis for pregnant mothers. This is an extremely touchy subject. Dated views continue to suggest cannabis compares to heroin, meth, cocaine, crack and the like. Although cannabis should not be compared to such drugs, it still lacks scientific understanding. Research is meager due to outdated laws as well as pharmaceutical self-interest.
What Does the Current Research Say?
Let’s look at some of the research linking cannabis to negative outcomes. Research titled: Cannabis, the pregnant woman and her child: weeding out the myths reviewed and summarized current literature. The authors stated, “Evidence regarding the effects of perinatal cannabis exposure, that is, during pregnancy and lactation, is plentiful but, unfortunately, ambiguous.” Despite the divided stances on cannabis consumption and pregnancy, we can all agree the research is confusing.
In their review, they suggest the habitual use of cannabis may cross through the womb to the fetus. Additionally, they discuss the difficulty in understanding the exact effect of cannabis on the child. The reason is due to other possible factors. For instance, mothers who admitted to using cannabis may ingest other substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, and/or other drugs.
Furthermore, poverty, stress, lack of nutrition, and lifestyle choices may inhibit healthy fetal development. They found evidence connecting cannabis use in pregnancy to low birth weight, increased chance of neonatal admissions or pre-term birth, and slight neurobehavioral disturbances.
Research Showing No Statistically Significant Evidence
If you have ever taken a statistics class, you may have heard the term “correlation does not equal causation.” Research looked at the maternal use of cannabis and pregnancy outcome. They observed mothers who used cannabis at least once per week before and during their pregnancies. Their results showed babies born to these mothers had smaller birth weights (216g lighter), shorter lengths at birth, and decreased head circumference.
After the researchers combined other factors, the results yielded no statistical significance. What does this mean? As stated above, we need more research! With the rise in women using cannabis during pregnancy, we must get the right information to make informed decisions.
The Jamaican Study
If you do any research on this topic, you may come across the popular study conducted by Dr. Melanie Dreher. Her population consisted of twenty women who used cannabis during pregnancy compared to twenty women who did not. These women lived in an area where people ingest cannabis heavily. Her results yielded some pretty fascinating stuff. They found no differences between these babies at birth. At a one-month follow-up, the babies with mothers who used cannabis performed better in some dimensions. The results indicated cannabis use during pregnancy does not have any negative associations.
Weighing the Risks vs. Benefits
It is important to look at the information out there so you can weigh the risks vs. the benefits. Some of the possible risks include low-birth weight, pre-term birth, and smaller size. Additionally, you have to remember the legal status of cannabis. Even in states where cannabis is legal, some hospitals perform drug testing at birth. This may result in CPS involvement.
One more point to consider includes looking at the current medications given for severe nausea. A condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum causes intense nausea and vomiting. Women suffering from this condition may be hospitalized. Doctors prescribe a drug called Zofran to reduce nausea. This drug is known to cause possible birth defects. If someone is suffering this much, is it fair to prescribe medicine that has known harmful side effects? Perhaps, in cases like this, medical cannabis is a solution!
Really, it boils down to your personal decision as a mother. Forums on the internet share personal accounts. Furthermore, The CannaMomma’s Blog shows support for cannabis consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Here, she shares her personal experience and offers consultation services.
More women are coming forth with personal accounts of using cannabis while pregnant. While some may disagree with this, many women say their children turn out just fine. In fact, some moms say their children are excelling in more ways than one!
What Are Pregnant Mommas Saying?
In the forum Cannabis While Pregnant, moms shared their opinions:
“I know more than a handful of women who have smoke marijuana during their pregnancy. Mostly due to extreme morning sickness. No adverse side effects to report other than wonderful children. But of course, there’s still not sufficient research one way or another other than that smoking, in general, is bad.”
“Bottom line to me is that there is a question mark, and some pregnant women approach question marks differently than others.”
“Personally it helps my bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts, and appetite so I’m risking it. I’m comfortable with the risk as most of the research and articles are inconclusive and don’t list specific reasons to not indulge besides ”Just don’t’, and in Cali, babies are rarely taken for marijuana use.”
“I feel it to be less harmful than even some prescription drugs, but the consequences are not worth the reward.”
“There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence online from mamas who smoke/vape weed during their pregnancies. I know women who have, and they went on to have healthy, wonderful babies. I think if I were ever to choose to consume while pregnant, I would absolutely NOT smoke it, I would either go the edible route, or use a vaporizer (where in the case of marijuana, vaping is significantly healthier for the smoker – where with liquid nicotine and the all flavored additives, vaping has been linked to popcorn lung).”