Is It Safe To Consume Cannabis During Pregnancy?

There are many things you can’t do while pregnant, like eat raw seafood or soft cheese, drink alcoholic beverages or hang around someone who smokes. But what about consuming cannabis during pregnancy? Is it safe? Or should you chuck out your craving until after? 

The Research

When it comes to how marijuana use during pregnancy can impact an infant’s health and development, the fact is that we need more research. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that “given the potential of marijuana to negatively impact the developing brain, […] obstetrician-gynecologists counsel women against using marijuana while trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, and while they are breastfeeding.”

The main warning against consuming cannabis during pregnancy is THC. According to Healthline, “what a mom-to-be puts on her skin, eats, and smokes affects her baby. Weed is one substance that can potentially impact a developing baby’s health.” It’s an important issue to discuss because:

  • Marijuana is the most commonly used drug during pregnancy.
  • More women are using cannabis while pregnant (increasing from 2% to 3.4%)

The main increase in marijuana pregnancy consumption can be due to vaping, which leads people to think it’s a safer option than smoking a traditional blunt. Since vape pens use water vapor instead of smoke, the main misconception is that there is no risk in consuming cannabis during a pregnancy. But if the vape pens contain THC, the main psychoactive active ingredient in marijuana, then it can harm the baby. 

The problem with determining how marijuana use affects a baby is that more often than not, pregnant women who consume cannabis during pregnancy are usually consuming other harmful substances. This makes it hard to determine which one has the actual negative effects. It’s also been very difficult to run research because of the dangers it implies, as well as being hard to measure the long-term effects marijuana use may cause on a child’s development. 

What About After Pregnancy?

Marijuana as a whole can still be a harmful substance for a developing infant, even if the mother is no longer pregnant. A Marijuana Research Report from the  National Institute on Drug Abuse states that “because a baby’s brain is still forming, THC consumed in breast milk could affect brain development. Given all these uncertainties, nursing mothers are discouraged from using marijuana.”

Potential Side Effects

So what can happen? Doctors have linked marijuana use during pregnancy with increased risk for complications, which may include a low birth weight, small head circumference, small length, premature birth or even stillbirth. Studies also suggest that cannabis use in pregnancy can lead to long-term neurological effects in children, with increased risk of behavioral challenges, autism or poor academic performance. 

What About CBD?

CBD (or medical marijuana, in this case) is being used more frequently during pregnancies to help alleviate nausea and vomiting. But the issue lies mainly in dosage. There is no way to measure and determine a safe dosage for any pregnant woman, as well as no conclusive research on the potential side effects it may have on the child. Since setting a standard pregnancy dosage is more than difficult because all the varying factors, pregnant women are advised against using all types of weed.

Bottom Line

Some women have reported using marijuana to treat severe nausea related to pregnancy, but “there is no research confirming that this is a safe practice, and it is generally not recommended.” But the bottom line is that experts don’t know if it’s safe. And in our opinion, it may not be worth the risk. Pregnant women are discouraged from doing normal things like sitting in a hot tub or sauna… so staying away from cannabis during those few months may be worth all the money in the world in order to keep the child as safe and healthy as possible. 

If you are interested in learning more about the medical applications of cannabis, our full course will provide students with all the scientific facts behind cannabis medicine, including how cannabis affects the human body and how cannabis medicine is being introduced into the medical community. Learn more about our courses, programs and certifications here!