Marijuana usage amongst pregnant women is on the rise as many mothers-to-be are using it to combat morning sickness. But the FDA is cautioning against it.
According to NRP, an alarming number of women are using cannabis-related products to combat morning sickness during pregnancy. The statistics recently prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release a statement “strongly” advising women do not turn to marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding, including products with only CBD.
The FDA warned that cannabis use can pose “serious risks” to fetal development. THC is the main psychoactive component in cannabis, but when it travels through the placenta, it can have a negative impact on the baby’s brain development. They noted that cannabis use is correlated to increased risk of premature birth. Evidence also suggests THC can be passed to infants through breast milk.
Studies have been mixed regarding the impact of cannabis on pregnancy. Some research suggests it can be safe, while others have linked it to an increase of risks, such as the ones the FDA emphasized.
"You can find results that say that marijuana does not have an impact on pregnancy outcomes, and you can find other studies that say that it does," Dr. Torri Metz, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Utah, explained. Metz went on to explain that researchers are unsure of how much marijuana is safe during pregnancy, if any. "There's definitely no degree of use that anyone has been able to say it's safe,” she said.
At the end of the day, Metz says it remains the decision of the expectant mother over how much cannabis she ingests during pregnancy. However, she warns it’s important that this is an informed decision. "Ultimately it's always a woman's choice what she's going to do with her body and during her pregnancy," she explained. "But I do think that we need to at least be providing counseling so they can make an informed decision."
Despite the widespread concern over cannabis use during pregnancy, many expectant mothers to turn to it. For instance, Jennifer, who declined to give her last name, told NPR that her morning sickness was debilitating. "I had really intense food aversion and really intense nausea. I wasn't eating at all,” the mom, who now has a 5-month old daughter explained. When she started losing weight rather than gaining it, she decided to try something new- weed.
Her husband bought her an iced tea with CBD and THC, the two main components in marijuana. Jennifer explained the drink allowed her to have her first full meal in weeks, so she continued to sip on the drink for the next few weeks to combat the morning sickness. Aside from this, she said she’d never really used cannabis. "I've never really been a marijuana user," she explained. "I don't have anything against it, but I just don't care for it myself."
When Jennifer learned of the possible consequences of her cannabis usage, she was discouraged at the little amount of information she could find. "I was frustrated that I couldn't really find any information," she said. "I ultimately came to the conclusion that lack of nutrition is far worse than the little bit of marijuana that I'm consuming.”
What do you think about consuming cannabis during pregnancy, BabyGaga readers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!