Written by Christopher A. Parrella, J.D., CHC, CPC, CPCO
The growing popularity of legalized marijuana to treat a wide range of healthcare issues has some beginning to question its use and safety to treat morning sickness.
A study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that women who suffer from mild to severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy were more likely to have used marijuana to ease their morning sickness than those who did not.
More than 220,500 women were screened and here is how the statistics played out:
- Severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy occurred in 2.3 percent of the pregnant women, and 11.3 percent of them used marijuana during pregnancy.
- Mild nausea and vomiting in pregnancy occurred in 15.3 percent of the group, and 8.4 percent of them used marijuana during pregnancy.
- Marijuana use by women with no nausea and vomiting in pregnancy was 4.5 percent.
So, with marijuana use by pregnant women on the rise, should there be a concern? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends against marijuana use – either smoked or ingested – during pregnancy stating that it may disrupt normal brain development in fetuses, which could result in shorter attention spans and some behavioral problems in children. Also, the children of those who smoked are more likely to use marijuana when they become teenagers.
In addition, the study found that women using marijuana at least weekly during pregnancy were significantly more likely to give birth to a newborn with a lower birth weight.
For those who smoke marijuana, there is the issue of inhaling many of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke, but in even higher concentrations.
Because the body metabolizes marijuana much more slowly than other drugs or alcohol, there also is the concern that it may be passed on to an infant during breast feeding. Various studies have suggested using marijuana during breast feeding can result in developmental problems, as well as slower weight gain due to the fact that marijuana can make a baby sleepy and, as a result, eat less.
Women who use after their child is born also may compromise their ability to take care of their child.
Some women have turned to Cannabidiol (CBD), which is derived from marijuana, but does not contain THC, the chemical that makes you high. However, not enough research has been conducted to determine how safe it is for pregnant women and their fetus.
The bottom line: Research is ongoing, but because the effects of marijuana may have an impact on your unborn child, you might want to consider refraining from its use. If you have any questions about the types of substances or medications you can use while pregnant, it’s always best to discuss with your physician.
The information provided is meant to be a guide and not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the information presented here and any use of our products based on such information.
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