Marijuana and Pregnancy: Bad Combination?

Marijuana and Pregnancy: Bad Combination?

Are you thinking of combining marijuana and pregnancy to combat morning sickness? Read on to find out how safe or unsafe marijuana is while expecting.

Marijuana, the weed, from which we can extract cannabis oil has proven itself to be like a wonder drug. People suffering from chronic pain, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, to name a few, find comfort and relief when given cannabis. So it comes as no surprise why marijuana has also been considered by some pregnant women to treat not only morning sickness but also other ailments associated with pregnancy. Thankfully, cannabis has been made legal in some countries like Canada, Uruguay, and some states in the United States, so acquiring it for medicinal use is easier.

Legalization of Cannabis Use

Bill C-45 made a historic breakthrough with a 52-49 vote and two abstentions in Canada two years ago. Such a bill legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, possession of growing it, and sales to adults.

With the legalization of marijuana in Canada, Canadians can now buy fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, plants, and seeds for cultivation in some cannabis dispensaries. It made it legal to own and even share up to 30 grams (or its equivalent) of cannabis and cannabis products with other adults. Canadians are allowed to garden up to four plants of cannabis at home, including preparing an edible product. And because cannabis is legal in Canada, any youth wanting to buy and use it for whatever purpose has been made impossible.

Marijuana and Pregnancy

The truth is studies related to using marijuana in pregnancy remain a field to be further explored by experts. This is because some women will never admit to having used it while pregnant due to some legal concerns. There are also cases wherein those who have used it have also used other drugs and substances like tobacco and alcohol while pregnant. However, some studies using animal subjects showcased the detrimental effects of combining marijuana and pregnancy.

It’s quite safe to say that several studies have reported significant effects of marijuana on embryo development and a child’s cognitive and psychological state when growing up. Let’s take a look at them, including how much marijuana a pregnant woman can have.

Recommended Use of Marijuana

There is no safe level or amount of marijuana for a pregnant woman to consume. However, some women have, in actuality, used marijuana to treat morning sickness and nausea. However, the medical field experts have given the warning not to use it during pregnancy or while breastfeeding because of its detrimental effects on the embryo and developing child. Thus marijuana and pregnancy cannot be combined.

The Effects of Marijuana on Embryo Development

Studies have shown that using marijuana was more frequent during the first trimester of pregnancy – which is the critical period of growth and development of a fetus.

Marijuana and pregnancy has been reported to have adverse effects on the baby’s fetal development and birth. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical present in marijuana, passes through the placenta to the fetus. The placenta, through the umbilical cord, gives a fetus its food and oxygen. As such, if a mother ingests or smokes marijuana while pregnant, THC would be passed on to the fetus and eventually adversely affects a fetus’s developing brain.

Certain studies have shown that using marijuana can result in premature birth. A fetus might also not gain the weight it needs before its term and, when born, could have a lower birth weight. More disheartening is a mother giving stillbirth. This means the baby died before or after delivery.

Marijuana and pregnancy can have babies suffer from neural tube defects due to folic acid uptake interference. This translates to a baby born with some missing parts of its brain, skull, and scalp. Such babies do not live long after birth. Even exposure to marijuana while pregnant has been shown to have some degree of developmental disruption on fetal growth. In addition, using marijuana in pregnancy may also deter a baby’s cellular growth and formation of new blood vessels.

Babies who’ve had marijuana through their mother are reported to have had tremors and altered sleep patterns. In addition, as a baby grows up, some associations have been discovered between marijuana use and the neurological development of a child. Such children, who eventually become adolescents, displayed altered responses to visual stimuli, decreased executive function, lower academic performance, and higher self-reported depressive symptoms. Moreover, they are reported to have lower scores on visual-motor coordination, tests of visual problem-solving, decreased attention span, and behavioral problems.

THC consumed by breastfeeding mothers can not only harm a baby but also decrease breast milk production. Babies who’ve been exposed to marijuana were reported to score poorly on psychomotor tests. Even long after a woman has stopped breastfeeding, THC could remain stored in fats and released over time. Thus, a baby could remain exposed to THC.

Could marijuana cause miscarriage?

Miscarriage can indeed happen at any time during pregnancy. Studies discovered that women who use marijuana while pregnant are at an increased risk of having a miscarriage.

What’s more interesting to note, though in this area, is that it’s been also discovered in some studies that men who smoke marijuana once or twice a week have a likely chance to have their partner suffer a miscarriage. This is because marijuana damages sperm in some way.

Bottomline

Because pregnancy is an essential yet vulnerable stage in a woman’s life, it is vitally important that women take care of their physical health by visiting their doctor during the first trimester to ensure the baby’s health and condition in the womb. The cannabis can affect the baby in the womb which includes being conscious of the body’s nutrient and vitamin intake while pregnant as with any decision, including marijuana and pregnancy, consult with a physician first before doing anything else.
It is important to be conscious if you are pregnant especially on what you are eating. It may affect your pregnancy and your health.

References:

https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/marijuana.aspx

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/using-both-marijuana-alcohol-during-early-pregnancy-may-increase-likelihood-disrupting-fetal-development

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7090387/

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/E/2018/eb-cannabis-pregnancy-breastfeeding.pdf?la=en

https://shastahealth.org/sites/default/files/residency/learning-resources/not-your-mothers-marijuana.pdf

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/can-marijuana-use-during-pregnancy-harm-baby

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/more-women-are-using-marijuana-during-pregnancy-heres-what-can-happen

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