Cannabis Use During Pregnancy: Current Evidence And Potential Risks

Marijuana (also known as marijuana, pot, or cannabis) is a narcotic derived from the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of the cannabis plant. During pregnancy, marijuana is the most widely utilised street drug. Marijuana contains over 500 compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC). This substance can alter how your brain functions, making it difficult to think rationally. THC and other compounds in marijuana have the potential to alter your senses of sight, sound, and touch. Marijuana use during pregnancy may cause issues for your baby both before and after birth.

Despite cannabis’s unknown effect on pregnant people, it has been used to heal a wide range of medical health conditions such as PTSD, ADHD, epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer-induced nausea, stress, anxiety and even depression. If you reside in the state of West Virginia and are suffering from any of the above-listed medical conditions, you can apply for West Virginia Medical Marijuana Card Online Online and begin your healing journey

Marijuana is the most often used illegal drug during pregnancy in the United States, and its usage is increasing across all adult age groups, both sexes and pregnant women. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, despite the fact that certain states have legalised it for recreational and therapeutic use. Furthermore, an increasing number of pregnant women see it as a safe, natural solution to manage nausea and vomiting, also known as “morning sickness.”

Cannabis Usage in the United States

Cannabis usage while pregnant is becoming more common in California and around the United States. The rise reflects increasing population use as more states legalise marijuana for recreational purposes. In 2020, approximately 8% of women – roughly 1 in 12 – smoked cannabis during pregnancy, up from 3% in 2002.

The rise comes despite accumulating evidence that marijuana can harm pregnant women and their babies, with research linking use to a variety of problems such as preterm birth, low birth weight, anaemia in mothers, and behavioural, mental health, and developmental difficulties in children.

Is it harmful to use marijuana before pregnancy?

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and major medical organisations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) all strongly suggest consuming marijuana in any form such as smoking, vaping, dabbing, eating or drinking, or applying creams or lotions to the skin while pregnant or breastfeeding.

However, the message becomes muddled at ground level. According to studies, the legalisation of cannabis, the removal of stigma associated with its use, the belief that cannabis products are “natural,” and a lack of knowledge from some health care practitioners about marijuana’s risks while pregnant can cause some women to assume it is safe.

During pregnancy, the placenta plays an important role in providing oxygen and nutrients to the baby, removing harmful waste and carbon dioxide, and producing hormones that help the baby grow. Medicine, narcotics, alcohol, and nicotine can pass from a pregnant woman’s bloodstream to her unborn child via the placenta.

The urine samples were taken during the Nulliparous Mothers-to-Be project, which included a large, heterogeneous multicenter cohort of pregnant women. Researchers included data from 9,257 pregnant women in their first trimester of pregnancy among the 10,038 participants.

Can smoking marijuana while pregnant harm your child?

Yes. THC and other chemicals can travel through the placenta to your kid if you use marijuana while pregnant. The placenta develops in your uterus (womb) and delivers nutrition and oxygen to your baby through the umbilical cord. Marijuana chemicals may also enter your baby’s brain.

Marijuana use during pregnancy is still being studied by researchers. Women who use marijuana may also smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, or use other illegal drugs, making it difficult to determine how marijuana affects pregnancy. According to several studies, if you smoke marijuana while pregnant, your baby may have issues.

Researchers discovered that cannabis did not increase the incidence of foetal abnormalities but did increase the risk of low birth weight in a trial of 6468 women, 361 of whom used marijuana. Women who stated “heavy use” had a greater chance of giving birth to a child with a lower birth weight than women who reported “some use,” suggesting that the possible influence on birth weight may be connected to the frequency of cannabis use.

Final Thoughts

Current research on the effects of cannabis on human pregnancy is sparse and sometimes contradictory. While it is obvious that smoking tobacco can have negative and long-term health consequences for children, further research is needed to understand how cannabis alone influences the developmental process. 

Because cannabis use can have negative consequences for some users, it is generally advised that people avoid using cannabis while pregnant. While there have been cases where cannabis use had no effect on pregnancy or newborn health, experts do not recommend it.