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Is Smoking Marijuana While Pregnant Safe for Your Baby?

John Templeton Jr. - September 14, 2019

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As medical marijuana continues to gain widespread acceptance across the United States and public attitudes regarding the drug relax, some pregnant mothers dealing with aches, pains and nausea are interested in the possibilities of relief. In fact, it’s the most commonly used illicit drug among expectant mothers.

After all, it helps people cope with negative effects and pain from cancer and other serious conditions. It must be safe, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case. The truth is, we haven’t done enough research to know for sure what the effects are of smoking marijuana while pregnant. But still, it’s important to review how marijuana works and the risks associated with smoking it during your pregnancy.

How Does Marijuana Work?

The two main components of marijuana are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both THC and CBD provide relief for discomfort, but these compounds do have some key differences.

For starters, THC is the chemical responsible for the euphoria you feel when smoking marijuana. It’s also found in higher concentrations in recreational marijuana to help users get high. CBD, on the other hand, is used more in medical marijuana because it has less side effects and doesn’t lead to the high that THC does.

Like any other drug out there, marijuana does affect your brain and how you function. Some of marijuana’s effects include:

  • Memory
  • Perception of color and light
  • Motor function
  • Cognitive capabilities like rational thought and problem solving

What Does Research Say about Smoking Marijuana During Pregnancy?

It’s difficult to evaluate research about marijuana’s effects on an unborn baby for a number of different reasons. For starters, the drug’s legal status hasn’t allowed for extensive testing. There are also ethical concerns regarding testing marijuana on soon-to-be-mothers. These two points cause researchers to rely on self-reporting to study how marijuana affects pregnancy.

That said, anything you eat, touch or inhale can impact your baby’s health while you’re pregnant or nursing. Take alcohol as an example. While alcohol may be legal (like marijuana is in many states today), extensive research shows that drinking can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome or other serious disabilities.

Since alcohol and other drugs can negatively affect both you and your unborn child, why risk it with marijuana?
For those reasons, most medical and health professionals and organizations advise against using marijuana while pregnant.

Why Is It Bad to Smoke Marijuana While Pregnant?

We do know that smoking any substance can affect the fetus negatively by reducing the amount of oxygen your body can pass along. However, there are other concerns that vaping and edible forms of marijuana may also contribute to issues with your baby’s development in the womb, including.

While it’s true that more research needs to be done, marijuana could have the following effects on your child:

  • Slowed growth and development
  • Low birth weight
  • Respiratory issues
  • Trouble self-regulating temperature
  • Increased risk of stillbirth
  • Higher probability of need for neonatal intensive care unit
  • Increased rate of preterm delivery
  • Smaller head circumference

Some studies suggest your child may experience neurodevelopmental and behavioral issues later in life, as well.

Individualized Treatment for Marijuana Addiction

Addiction can take over your life unexpectedly. Marijuana can function as a gateway to other more dangerous drugs, or it could become a problem all on its own. It’s difficult to find the way back to some sense of normalcy on your own.

We know because our family has been through addiction and come through the other side. Our mission is to share the skills and education needed so you can find a happier, healthier life. Through one-on-one treatment and compassionate care, we can develop a treatment plan specific to your unique triggers, addiction and co-occurring conditions.

Contact us today for a confidential conversation about our approach to addiction treatment.

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