Is it safe to smoke cannabis while pregnant? If you are asking this question, you are not alone. This topic is currently being examined, publicly and in scientific and medical communities. Because many women are choosing to consume marijuana before, during, and after pregnancy, there is a need for more information on this topic to understand the risks.
Smoking weed today is not the same as it was 20 years ago. Strains of bud are stronger and much more accessible than ever before. There are many reasons for easier access to weed, which include many different forms of cannabis and reduced legal restrictions. You can even buy weed online in Canada.
Does that make it safe? The short answer is no. Yet, some sources and studies suggest that it’s not so simple.
What Are the Benefits of Marjiuana for Adults?
The effects of marijuana on the human body have been greatly studied. The effects on fetal development less so. What we do know is that for adults cannabis can:
- Reduce pain
- Relax muscles
- Decrease stress
- Alleviate nausea
- Stimulate appetite
- Help with glaucoma
- Boost creativity
- Provide support for a variety of ailments and conditions
For these reasons and more, many choose to either purchase marijuana from a dispensary or buy weed online in Canada. Part of what makes bud an attractive option is that many people report they can still function and do not experience the many negative side effects experienced from opiates and other prescribed drugs.
These are some benefits for adults. How does this translate to pregnancy and a fetus in utero?
Why Do People Choose to Smoke Cannabis While Pregnant?
Let’s look at why women choose to smoke cannabis while pregnant. The choice is not recreational. Growing a baby comes with some discomfort and symptoms that require relief.
- Morning sickness
- Headache and/or migraine relief
Rather than taking a pharmaceutical drug to overcome these symptoms, many women want a more natural option so they choose to use cannabis. Some women don’t feel up to going out because of their symptoms, so this makes the ability to buy weed online in Canada a desirable option.
Some women also opt to use CBD, the part of cannabis that does not cause any impairment. According to researchers, natural and convenient does not make a substance safe.
What do Medical Professionals Have to Say About Using Cannabis During Pregnancy?
It is a medical professional’s job to make the best, safest recommendations to patients based on available information. Symptoms such as morning sickness and nausea often happen at the start of a pregnancy, during the most important neurological (brain) development for growing babies.
Some studies that suggest that the effects of cannabis can negatively impact the cognitive development of a fetus exposed to cannabis while others show inconclusive results. If there is any risk to the health of the fetus, healthcare professionals will always advise to find a safer solution.
What Are the Expected Effects of Exposure to Marijuana in Utero?
The effects of smoking weed during pregnancy don’t look so good at first glance. The risks of smoking marijuana on an unborn baby are not fully understood. Because it crosses through the placenta, here are some concerns and possibilities of exposure to cannabis in utero:
- Important growth in the brain occurs at the beginning of pregnancy and effects of exposure are not fully known.
- It may increase the risk of birth defects.
- It may slow neurological development and problem solving skills.
- It may increase the risk of learning disabilities.
- May be increased risk for miscarriage.
- It may slow folic acid absorption, which can impact birth weight (low birth weight).
- It could have an effect on learning and memory.
- Potential increase in hyperactivity later in childhood.
What’s more scary is that research done in the past is not reliable, because current cannabis products have much higher levels of THC. Again if there is a risk, it’s always best to speak with your doctor to decide what is best for you and your baby.
However, there’s a twist to this unfolding story. Some studies on children who had been exposed to marijuana have shown some vastly different outcomes from what is suggested above.
Let’s Take a Peek into the Jamaica Studies
The answer to the question: “Is it safe to smoke weed while pregnant?” based on current data is definitely no. And yet, there has been some compelling evidence that suggests smoking weed while pregnant could support brain development.
This extensive study, which takes into account the Jamaica Studies findings, suggests that marijuana does not negatively impact prenatal brain growth and development.
In the Jamaica Studies, researchers studied 24 newborn babies exposed to cannabis in utero with 20 who were not. Those exposed to cannabis at one, three, and 30 days of age had:
- Better reflexes
- Greater self regulation and stability
- Less irritability
It is believed that the higher scores of these babies point more to the environment and economic status of their mothers. In a follow up to this study, findings also showed that the growth and learning of children ages 4 and 5 were influenced more by ‘certain aspects of the home environment and to regularity of basic school (preschool) attendance.’
This alone suggests that we need more information to fully understand the effects of smoking weed while pregnant.
Is Consuming Cannabis in Other Ways Safe During Pregnancy?
Smoking is not the only way to consume marijuana. With the ability to seek out cannabis products and to buy weed online in Canada, there are other ways to consume, such as edibles.
The jury is still out on whether or not edibles are safe during pregnancy. Because researchers are concerned about the development of the brain and body in utero, it is unclear if the method of consumption would have an effect on a baby’s health. Theoretically at least, the consumption of any cannabis product could have the same negative effects on mom and baby.
Always Choose the Safest Option for You and Your Baby
Ultimately, you want to set your baby up for success in all areas of life, especially when it comes to health and wellness. To quote researchers verbatim, “Pregnant women should be counseled regarding these risks and encouraged to abstain from use. ”
We conclude that it is not safe to smoke weed while pregnant and we remain curious about what future studies have to show us.