Have you noticed ads for the use of cannabis to help with morning sickness? Perhaps you’ve seen dispensaries marketing marijuana to individuals struggling with aches and pains during pregnancy. Is this safe? Marijuana use while pregnant is not necessarily a wise decision. While there is limited research on its benefits during pregnancy, we do know it carries a number of risk factors for the mother and the baby. While pregnant, marijuana use should be eliminated. Here’s why:
Marijuana Use Is Safe, Isn’t it?
Many people report improvements to their health and wellbeing through the use of cannabis. And, as of this blog post, 32 states have stated that it is legal to use cannabis for medical purposes. Some women benefit from the anxiety-reduction. Others see less chronic pain.
However, this doesn’t mean it’s safe to use during pregnancy. Pregnancy isn’t a health condition that needs treatment, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women who are pregnant and using marijuana be encouraged to stop. Most doctors screen for it during pregnancy.
What’s the truth? What are the true implications of pregnant marijuana use?
One of the key concerns with marijuana use is that THC, the active component in cannabis, is able to cross from mother to child. More specifically, it can cross through the placenta and reach the fetus. In short, if you use it, your child is also feeling it. In one study, published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that babies exposed to cannabis during pregnancy are at risk for a lower birth weight. This translates into complications in health and development.
Also, note that THC can also enter into the mother’s milk supply. If a woman is breastfeeding and using marijuana, this can create health complications for the child as well.
The Addictive Concern
Perhaps the most worrisome of all factors related to pregnancy use is the behaviorally addictive qualities it presents. Legal or not, marijuana can be addictive. For some people, it is possible to use and put down marijuana without any type of withdrawal or psychological change. For many others, this simply is not the case.
For some people, it is possible to become psychologically addicted to cannabis. They build up such a need for it that they cannot perform tasks – ranging from eating to sleeping, and potentially caring for a child – without the use of it. The National Institutes on Drug Abuse report that as many as 30 percent of people who use cannabis develop a marijuana use disorder. Right now, an estimated 4 million people in the U.S. have this disorder.
What Does All of This Mean to You?
As an addictive drug, marijuana is not safe for you to use during pregnancy. Even if it seems to help with some of the symptoms or discomforts you have, you should not simply use it to help you get through the day. It is not fully understood what regular use of marijuana can contribute to a child’s development and overall health, though children born at a low birth weight struggle with health and mental complications throughout their lives at a higher rate than those born at an average birth weight.
Drug addiction, even with cannabis, requires treatment. Protecting the life of your child and minimizing the risks to your own health during pregnancy is critical. The danger of marijuana while pregnant creates complications for mother and child, especially if addiction forms and creates a lifelong need to use to get through the day.
At FHE Health, our team works with expectant mothers and others struggling with addiction. Speak to us about the options available to help you overcome any substance abuse or mental health concern you may have.