Is Smoking Weed While Pregnant Safe

How To Stop Regular Cannabis Use Safely

Is Smoking Weed While Pregnant Dangerous?

If you are a regular weed user, you may consider doing a weed detox to clear your system of THC. During a weed detox, you’ll quit using cannabis completely to clear it from your body. This can take 30 to 90 days, depending on factors like how often you smoke and how much body fat you have.

It’s also important to note that stopping regular weed use can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Sleep disturbance

Staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting regular exercise can help you cope with withdrawal symptoms.

If you have concerns about stopping cannabis use during pregnancy, or if you use medical cannabis to treat a specific condition, talk with your health care provider. They may be able to suggest alternatives until you are done with pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Additionally, talking to a mental health professional can help you find tools to cope. You can also try finding other ways to self-medicate, such as taking a relaxing bath when you feel stressed.

Effects Of Smoking Weed While Pregnant

Some people mistakenly believe that marijuana is harmless because it’s derived from a plant. This isn’t true. Marijuana use during pregnancy can affect you and your baby in many negative ways. Here’s how:

  • Smoking weed while pregnant raises carbon monoxide levels in your blood. This can reduce the amount of oxygen that your developing baby receives, which can adversely affect your baby’s growth.

In a study of more than 5,600 women who used marijuana during their pregnancies, researchers found that compared to pregnant women who didn’t use pot, pregnant women who used weed had:

In the same study, the babies of the pregnant women who used marijuana were more likely to:

Research elsewhere has linked marijuana use in pregnancy to these effects on babies:

  • Increased irritability in newborns
  • Possible link to stillbirth: Researchers aren’t sure yet if marijuana alone is responsible for the link or if other substances, such as cigarettes, are involved in the increased risk.
  • Problems with higher-order thinking during childhood, including problem-solving, memory, planning, attention, and impulse control
  • Lower academic scores once the child reaches school age

Animal Models Of Perinatal Cannabis Exposure

Cannabis use among pregnant and lactating women could be recapitulated, at least in part, by preclinical experimental approaches in rodents. These models are fundamental to explore precisely and systematically the specific neurobiological mechanisms altered by cannabinoid compounds during brain development and the consequences on behavior and cognition.

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When Can I Resume Smoking Weed

If you smoked weed prior to pregnancy, you may be able to resume after the baby is born. But, you should talk to a healthcare provider to determine what is best given your specific situation.

For instance, as Dr. Tishler explains, if you are breastfeeding, its best to avoid smoking weed. Cannabinoids do get concentrated in breastmilk, he says.

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine explains that while data about the effects of cannabis exposure on infant development is sparse and conflicting, there is clear evidence that cannabis gets transferred into breast milk and absorbed by babies. In fact, tetrahydrocannabinol , one of the main components of weed, is present in breast milk at eight times the rate than in the plasma of moms who smoke it.

The other thing to keep in mind, says Dr. Jones, is that even if you arent breastfeeding, babies can be exposed to weed through secondhand smoke. As ABM shares, infant exposure to secondhand weed smoke has been associated with an increased risk of SIDS.

Finally, if you are smoking weed recreationally, you need to be sure that you are awake and alert enough to care for your infant if not, you should refrain from smoking or arrange alternative childcare.

Can You Use Cannabis While Breastfeeding

Marijuana &  Pregnancy: Is it Safe to Smoke Weed?

In order to limit potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding parents should not use cannabis or cannabis-containing products in any form, says Merhi.

The current data available regarding the safety of cannabis use while breastfeeding is limited. However, we do know two chemicals in cannabis Tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol have the potential to affect the neurodevelopment of an infant. THC, in particular, can be passed on to a breastfeeding infant through breast milk, Merhi says.

Data on the effects of CBD exposure to an infant through breast milk are limited and conflicting, but we do know CBD products may contain other contaminants, like bacteria or pesticides that could be dangerous to the parent and baby, Merhi says.

While more research is needed, the science so far shows enough of a risk that breastfeeding parents should not use cannabis while nursing, Merhi says.

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What Are The Effects Of Smoking Marijuana While Breastfeeding

Smoking marijuana while breastfeeding is not safe for your baby. THC builds up in breast milk as much as 8 times higher than in a mother’s bloodstream. THC is then absorbed into a baby’s bloodstream and can be stored in a baby’s fat tissue for weeks to months. THC also gets into a baby’s brain and can make a baby extra sleepy and not feed very well. It can also cause delays in a baby’s development.

Marijuana has also been shown to contain other dangerous substances, including toxins from pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. These chemicals can also transfer through the breast milk.

What Is Cannabis Use Disorder

Cannabis use disorder may be diagnosed when a person has more than one sign of problem use — such as strong cravings to take the drug, withdrawal symptoms, and continuing to use it even when it’s causing problems at work or in relationships.

Based on medical records, few pregnant women in the study had a marijuana use disorder. But the rate increased over time — from just under 3 per 1,000 in 2001, to almost 7 per 1,000 in 2012.

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Cannabis Use By Participants

The research nurse asked women about the duration and frequency of cannabis use from 3 months before until 15 weeks into their pregnancy. Women were allocated to four categories: never used cannabis, used cannabis but quit before pregnancy, used cannabis but quit during early pregnancy , and continued to use cannabis at 15 weeks of pregnancy. Women were also classified according to whether they used cannabis up to once or more than once a week, consistent with previous studies.8,9 We did not quantify the amount or strength of cannabis consumed.

What Are The Risks Of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

The Harms of Marijuana

There are not as many studies out there as I would like on the effects of smoking marijuana during pregnancy, Dr. Richardson, who is also the medical director of our Healthy Beginnings program, said.

However, she said, there are a few things we do know:

  • Some studies show that if you use marijuana in any form during pregnancy, your child could have trouble with learning, memory, attention and behavior later in life.
  • Smoking during pregnancy, whether its marijuana or tobacco, can cause premature birth.

The bottom line is there are too many unknowns to consider marijuana use during pregnancy safe.

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Secondhand Smoke Harms Your Baby

If your partner or anyone else who lives with you smokes, their smoke can affect you and your baby before and after their birth. You may also find it more difficult to stop if someone around you smokes.

Secondhand smoke can also reduce your babys birthweight and increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome , also known as cot death. Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to be admitted to hospital for bronchitis and pneumonia during their first year.

To find out more about quitting and to get support, your partner can call the NHS Smokefree helpline on from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.

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Alcohol Smoking And Drugs In Pregnancy

Drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs during pregnancy or while breastfeeding can affect your childâs health. Women who are pregnant, trying to conceive or breastfeeding should avoid smoking, drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs. Always speak with your doctor or midwife before taking any medication.

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How To Find The Best Cannabis

So I think the biggest thing is I always tell people, you, as a patient, if youre pregnant or trying to have a baby and you are in a legal state, I would definitely try to find a provider that is comfortable with you using cannabis, if thats what you want to do. And its hard to find those providers because they dont have like a sign outside their door. But finding other moms that have gone through similar things is helpful and then interviewing your doctor, which sounds terrible but if you havent become pregnant yet, thats the best time to interview those doctors and find out, Are you comfortable with me using cannabis for XYZ purposes during my pregnancy? And heres the second thing. You may not have information about why or how your pregnancy outcomes will be using cannabis. However, if youre using cannabis for a condition, youre more likely to find studies, articles and supporting information about your condition to take to your provider.

Is It Too Late To Quit Smoking Weed At 30 Weeks Pregnant

Is it safe for a woman to use an e

Its never too late to protect your baby by quitting weed. We dont know how harmful THC is to fetal development, and it might not be as bad as people think. Growing a child in your womb, however, is the most delicate endeavor your body will ever undertake, so its best to control as many variables as possible.

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What Happens If You Smoke In Early Pregnancy

Smoking in early pregnancy deprives your developing baby of the oxygen they need to grow and develop something babies do a lot of early in pregnancy.

Even smoking prior to conception can contribute to serious birth defects. In one long-term study, a momâs smoking before pregnancy was associated with a 40 percent increase in gastroschisis, where the infants intestines protrude through a defect in the abdominal wall.

An expecting dadâs smoking prior to conception can also be harmful to a baby. One study found that a dadâs smoking increased the babyâs risk of birth defects including abnormalities of the limbs, heart defects, and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

If you smoked before you knew you were pregnant, donât panic just quit. Quitting smoking before 15 weeks of pregnancy offers your baby the most benefits. In one study, pregnant smokers who quit in the first trimester lowered their risk of delivering preterm and small-for-gestational-age babies to a level similar to that of pregnant nonsmokers.

Should I Tell My Obgyn I Smoke Weed

When you speak with an obstetrician-gynecologist , you should be as up-front and honest as possible about everything. There is no valid reason you would need to hide your cannabis use from an OBGYN.

You should stop using cannabis while pregnant no matter what, and hiding the fact that you smoke weed from your OBGYN will do nothing to protect your baby from the harmful developmental effects of being exposed to cannabinoids. Unless youre addicted, discussing cannabis use with your OBGYN should be an uplifting and positive experience.

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What Are The Risks Of Smoking While Breastfeeding

If you smoke while breastfeeding you risk:

  • lowering your supply of breast milk
  • your baby being exposed to nicotine through your breast milk
  • burning your baby with hot ash
  • affecting your babys development

If you do smoke while breastfeeding, then it is better to wait until after you have fed your baby rather than before or during a feed. This will minimise your babys exposure to nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco smoke.

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Effects On Fetal Development

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THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, acts on a receptor in the brain that is present as early as 14 weeks of gestation the end of the first trimester. It does cross the placenta and reach the developing fetus. Fetuses are exposed to about 10 percent of the THC that mom takes in, whether by ingesting edibles, smoking, or vaping. It is also stored in maternal fat for weeks, increasing exposure to the developing fetus for a long time after the actual consumption.

Studies have linked marijuana use during pregnancy to possible neurological impairments. Children exposed during pregnancy generally have shown higher rates of difficulty in speech and cognition, lower math scores, lower spelling scores, and higher rates of focus and attention problems.

THC has also been connected to lower birth weights and lower muscle tone and tremors in newborns.

While its important to note these initial studies and their results are not conclusive, recent research has been discouraging enough that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises against using marijuana while pregnant. Because THC can be found in breast milk, the American Academy of Pediatrics also discourages use of marijuana while breastfeeding.

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Why Don’t We Know More About Using Marijuana During Pregnancy

It’s difficult to study the specific effects of using marijuana during pregnancy for several reasons, including:

  • Women in studies may also be using tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs, so it’s hard to isolate the effects of weed.
  • Pregnant women may not want to admit they’re using marijuana or how much they’re using.
  • Ethical concerns and the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug prevent researchers from conducting clinical trials involving weed and pregnant women.

Learn more:

What Are The Potential Health Effects Of Using Marijuana During My Pregnancy

Although more research is needed to better understand how marijuana may affect you and your baby during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant persons do not use marijuana.3,4

  • Some research shows that using marijuana while you are pregnant can cause health problems in newborns, including lower birth weight and abnormal neurological development.1
  • Breathing marijuana smoke can also be bad for you and your baby. Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.5 THC, the psychoactive or mind-altering compound in marijuana, may also be passed to infants through secondhand smoke.6

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What Are The Risks Of Smoking Weed While Pregnant

Cannabis use during pregnancy can harm a developing fetus in multiple ways. The list of known effects of smoking weed while pregnant on the developing child include:

  • Disrupting the normal process of fetal brain development
  • Higher chance of being born prematurely
  • Increased odds of stillbirth
  • Lower-than-normal body weight at birth

Risks for premature birth are highest among pregnant women who smoke cigarettes in addition to cannabis. Even secondhand cannabis smoke has the potential to harm children. Fetal exposure to the drug is linked to behavioral problems later in life. It is also linked to a reduced ability to focus and pay attention.

Is Medical Marijuana Safe For Pregnant Mothers


Medical marijuana is not regulated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration nor is it recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Talk to your prenatal care provider about safer options if you are pregnant and are considering smoking marijuana to help morning sickness or if you use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

Any marijuana use can affect your ability to think clearly, stay alert, make good decisions and respond to the needs of your baby. Marijuana use includes:

  • Smoking marijuana, including dabs
  • Eating or smoking wax or hash
  • Any other methods, including creams or lotions

Using marijuana can alter your judgment and put you at a higher risk for dizziness, putting you at risk of injury and falls, which can be harmful for the mother and baby.

Other health risks of smoking marijuana include:

  • Damage to your lungs
  • Lowered level of oxygen in your body, which increases the risk of breathing problems
  • Increase in anemia

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Can Doctors Tell If You Smoke Cigarettes While Pregnant

Yes, if your doctor looks at the results of some medical tests that may identify nicotine in your blood, saliva, urine, and hair, they will be able to tell if you smoke on occasion. When you breath nicotine, some of it is absorbed into your bloodstream. This is true whether you smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke.

What Are Risks For Babies Of Moms With Cannabis Use Disorder

Babies born to moms with cannabis use disorder were more likely to be born early and underweight, versus babies whose mothers did not have the disorder but were similar in terms of race, education and overall health.

They were 6% more likely to be born preterm and 13% more likely to be either underweight or small for gestational age — a sign of growth restriction in the womb.

The risks were greater when moms used both marijuana and tobacco. But pot use was a risk factor regardless of cigarette smoking, the researchers said.

And while few babies died during the first year of life — fewer than 1% — those whose moms used marijuana heavily had a 35% higher risk.

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