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What about the use of cannabis or CBD in pregnancy?

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The legalization of therapeutic and recreational marijuana provides a growing number of people with free access to cannabis. This raises questions on various topics such as the combination of marijuana with medicines, the combination of marijuana with various health problems and also the use of marijuana during pregnancy;

The latter issue is of increased concern to physicians. They may observe an increasing number of patients consuming cannabis or its concentrates. Among these people, many women can be found smoking marijuana during pregnancy (including consumption of cannabis edibles or other uses) in order to relieve problems such as morning sickness, etc. Since many women insist that marijuana is effective in relieving common pregnancy-related ailments, research suggests that mothers-to-be should stop using it – even during breastfeeding after giving birth.

Marijuana use during pregnancy

How many women use marijuana during pregnancy? Studies conducted in recent years have produced a diverse number. One study in the US conducted with pregnant women in a government program on dietary supplements in Colorado suggested that nearly 20% of women consume marijuana during pregnancy. Whatever the actual numbers, many experts are certain that any statistics obtained are likely to understate the reality, as many pregnant women are hesitant to embrace cannabis use, especially where cannabis is not yet legal. Marijuana is high on the list of substances used by pregnant women, probably just after alcohol and tobacco, leading to real concerns about its effects;

Why do women use marijuana during pregnancy?

If it is true that a huge number of women consume cannabis during pregnancy, the question arises as to why this is so. While some accustomed women fail to quit even when they are pregnant, other women turn to cannabis to ease the difficulties they experience during pregnancy. Some women feel that marijuana works better than prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Because women are often hesitant to ask their doctors about the risks and benefits of smoking marijuana during pregnancy, they rely solely on information and advice on the internet. Marijuana and pregnancy has become a controversial topic. Many people defend its safety. Because of internet searches, you will come across many social media sites and groups dedicated to women who choose to use cannabis during pregnancy for health reasons. Some of the many difficulties are:

Morning sickness

One of the most common reasons women consume marijuana during pregnancy is to address morning sickness, nausea, and low appetite. Although cannabis has been studied as a successful treatment for disease in patients undergoing chemotherapy, it has not been studied as an antiemetic in pregnant women;


Some expectant mothers use marijuana to help with pain – either pain they had before pregnancy or back pain that has developed or worsened during pregnancy. Cannabis provides relief for these women, even when over-the-counter ointments and painkillers have failed. At the same time, they feel that cannabis provides a better alternative to opiates and other strong prescription drugs;

Anxiety and insomnia

Hormone fluctuations and changes in the body can cause anxiety, irritation and insomnia due to pregnancy. These have turned marijuana into an attractive treatment, as its ability to reduce anxiety and promote sleep for long periods of time has been studied. Varieties with high CBDs are particularly effective, and some women who have used marijuana during pregnancy report that it is the only solution to help them cope with the aforementioned problems during this period.

Methods of use

It has been well known for many years that smoking cigarettes during pregnancy is not only harmful to the mother, but also harmful to the developing foetus. Some studies suggest that smoking marijuana carries the same risks in terms of carcinogens and other toxins, leading some women to choose to vape marijuana or consume edibles or tinctures to avoid inhaling the smoke.

Vaping, foods and tinctures still require consumptionTHC, CBD and other cannabinoids; These cannabinoids enter the mother’s blood through the placenta to the fetus. Many experts believe that the use of these compounds – especially THC – can be dangerous to both mother and child;

Dangers of marijuana use during pregnancy

Since marijuana has been legalised in many places and is often used as a treatment for various illnesses and ailments, many people have been led to believe that it is a natural substance that can be safely used in all circumstances, including pregnancy. Marijuana is both a medicinal and recreational substance – like any other substance it can have a negative impact on the mother and her baby. What are the effects of smoking marijuana during pregnancy? Unfortunately, evidence shows that marijuana use is far from harmless to pregnant women and developing fetuses. The American Academy of Pediatrics discussed the dangers by showing 2018 guidelines that warn women not to use marijuana in any form during pregnancy.

Danger for pregnant women

While some women use marijuana to treat morning sickness and some other problems that occur during pregnancy, evidence shows that cannabis can cause or worsen other problems or even dangerous health conditions;

A 2015 study published in the British Medical Journal found that pregnant women with anaemia have a higher risk of anaemia if they use marijuana before or during pregnancy. The same study found that cannabis use increases the risk of miscarriage.

Another potential problem caused by marijuana use during pregnancy may be the risk of fainting and dizziness. This can be caused by an increased heart rate and a decrease in blood pressure – two side effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In addition to these problems, impaired memory and coordination contribute to impaired brain function in women during pregnancy;

Risks to fetal development

If marijuana can affect a pregnant mother, what about her baby? Does marijuana smoke affect pregnancy? Research shows that marijuana use during pregnancy can reduce blood flow and oxygen in the placenta. There are concerns about how THC and other cannabinoids may affect the baby itself. After the mother uses cannabis, the substances pass through the placenta, causing the THC level in the baby’s blood to rise by one-third to one-tenth of the mother’s THC level;

The same study in the British Medical Journal that examined anemia, marijuana and pregnancy also found that babies born to women who used marijuana during pregnancy often required time in intensive neonatal care;

Numerous studies show that marijuana damages the adolescent brain, with some research linking cannabis use in adolescents to lower IQs. Based on these findings, researchers also suggest that it is not healthy for the brains of unborn children either.

Studies show that fetal exposure to marijuana can have lasting effects after birth. In an article published in the journal Future Neurology, researchers wrote about how prenatal cannabis exposure causes a range of adverse effects in infants – from overreactions to bad habits. Studies have also found that infants whose mothers consumed marijuana during pregnancy suffered from abnormal sleep patterns and increased muscle tension. As the children aged, they experienced impaired performance, lack of concentration, and hyperactivity.

After pregnancy: marijuana during breastfeeding

Even if a woman abstains from marijuana use during pregnancy, many assume it is safe to start using again after the baby is born – even if she is breastfeeding. There are only a few studies on the effects of marijuana use on breastfeeding, and those that have been conducted have provided very conflicting results. Two small studies from the 1980s produced conflicting results, one showing no evidence of growth retardation and the other showing developmental delay in infants whose mothers consumed cannabis while breastfeeding. (Note: in the second study, the mothers also consumed marijuana during pregnancy.)

One thing is certain: marijuana passes into breast milk. Because THC binds to fat, breast milk is a particularly good source. A 2018 study published in the journal Paediatrics outlined how 34 breast milk samples from 54 women who used marijuana detected THC. Stool samples from infants of mothers using marijuana showed accumulation of THC metabolites.

Although the amount of THC in breast milk is low, scientists are not sure whether even low levels are harmful. Dr. Christina Chambers, the lead researcher of the study, said that the amount of THC a baby could potentially take was relatively low, but they still don’t know enough about the drug to say if there is a harmful dose for the baby or not. Or if there is a safe dosage level.

She also pointed out that the THC content of today’s marijuana is much higher than it was in the 1980s, when the original studies were conducted. The research found that THC levels in the 1990s – a decade after the first breastfeeding studies – averaged 4%, while the average THC content in 2014 was 12%.

CBD and pregnancy

If consuming THC carries specific risks, many women think about taking cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. CBD has been studied for its ability to reduce nausea, suppress pain, calm anxiety and promote restful sleep – many of the problems that plague women during pregnancy.

Unfortunately, scientific studies on CBD oil and its effect on pregnancy development are too scarce for doctors to be clearly for or against its use;

Studies have shown that CBD can reduce uterine contractions. However, the study was conducted on cells outside the body, questions have been raised as to whether CBD can reduce contractions while a woman is pushing. Meanwhile, other studies on CBD and pregnancy have found that CBD can reduce the defensive functions of the placenta, meaning that external compounds can more easily pass through the placental barrier and reach the fetus.

Unless more studies are done on the effect of CBD oil on fetal development – and specifically studies on pregnant women – many doctors will be reluctant to use CBD, but they will also be hesitant to advise patients to avoid it;

So is it advisable to take CBD during pregnancy? No, although it has many health benefits, it is best to avoid using CBD during pregnancy until there is more research to show how CBD affects pregnant women and the developing baby;

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