The Word on Pot Use During Pregnancy
Over the last few decades, hundreds of studies have been performed to show the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy, and what they’ve found is not necessarily as harmful as one would assume. Some people assume cannabis would have similar effects on the developing fetus or on newborn babies as alcohol and tobacco do. In addition, many studies that you come across may state that they have found developmental problems related to decreased birth weight, behavioral problems, or increased chances of developing acute leukemia. One of the many factors that is hard to control in these studies is the amount of cannabis ingested by subjects and/or the addition of other illicit substances used during this time, skewing the overall outcomes.
One of the most recognized studies on this topic is Dr. Melanie Dreher’s work in Jamaica. This study examined the birth weights and early development of infants exposed to cannabis while still in the womb and even several months after delivery, compared to infants that were not exposed to cannabis. The results showed no difference in the development of either sets of infants and in fact, showed almost the opposite. The infants that were exposed to cannabis performed better on numerous physiological and autonomic tests by 30 days old, proving to socialize more quickly, making eye contact more quickly, and engaging more easily.
One doctor’s testament on the use of cannabis during her pregnancy states that the substance saved her life. Dr. Wei-Ni Lin Curry suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) during her pregnancy. HG is a potentially life-threatening condition in which the victim suffers from severe nausea and vomiting, malnutrition, and weight loss during pregnancy.
“Within two weeks of my daughter’s conception, I became desperately nauseated and vomited throughout the day and night. … I vomited bile of every shade, and soon began retching up blood. … I felt so helpless and distraught that I went to the abortion clinic twice, but both times I left without going through the with procedure. … Finally I decide to try medical cannabis. … Just one to two little puffs at night, and if I needed in the morning, resulted in an entire day of wellness. I went from not eating, not drinking, not functioning, and continually vomiting and bleeding from two orifices to being completely cured. … Not only did the cannabis save my [life] during the duration of my hyperemesis, it saved the life of the child within my womb.”
– Dr. Wei-Ni Lin Curry
So if you are an expecting mother or know of one who is debating the use of cannabis during their pregnancy, just remember that there are no proven studies that show definite negative effects on the fetus when cannabis is used solely during pregnancy. So far, the only thing we know is that when cannabis is used with other illicit substances, developmental issues could arise. With evidence changing daily, make sure to do your research when deciding what route you’d like to take. And be careful of who you disclose this information to, as legal issues could come about and lead to unfortunate situations involving child protection services.