Is Weed Harmful For Pregnancy

How Many Women Use Marijuana During Pregnancy

Pot is harmful to pregnant women: Dr. Marc Siegel

A U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse study found that between 2002 and 2017, the number of U.S. pregnant women who said they’d used marijuana in the past month doubled — from about 3.5% to 7%. Of women who use pot during pregnancy, 80% also smoke cigarettes. The new study, published April 22 in the journal Addiction, was large, looking at data from 4.8 million births in California. That gave the researchers a chance to zero in on women who used marijuana regularly but not tobacco.

Can You Smoke Weed While Youre Pregnant

No, you should not smoke weed or ingest the cannabinoid delta 9 THC in any way while you have a baby inside your body. Over the last few years, using cannabis while pregnant has become normalized by social media culture, but using THC while pregnant could be harmful to your baby in ways that we simply have not yet been able to identify.

All we know for certain is that psychoactive substances in general tend to have detrimental effects on fetal development. If youre serious about bringing your child to term as healthy as possible, you should be very discriminating regarding the substances you allow into your body.

Are Pregnant Women Using Cannabis

While we dont have data on how common cannabis use is during pregnancy, results from the 2016 Australian National Drug Strategy Household Survey showed 10-20% of women of reproductive age had used cannabis during the preceding 12 months.

Recent literature from overseas shows the number of women who become pregnant while using cannabis increased by as much as double from 2002 to 2017.

This is likely driven in large part by the legalisation of cannabis in many parts of the world. In turn, increasing social and medical acceptance of its use has led to an overall perception cannabis is a safe drug.

In places where cannabis is legal, cannabis dispensaries sometimes promote it for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. But there are no studies evaluating whether its effective in this context, let alone whether its safe.

A recent study found one in three pregnant women didnt think cannabis could harm their baby.

But our research adds to a growing number of animal and human studies suggesting the opposite.

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People With Heart Disease

One of the side effects of THC is an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. While this may not be a risk for most healthy individuals, it could be problematic for those with heart disease. In fact, studies have shown that the risk of heart attack increases to 4.8 times higher than normal within the first hour after consuming marijuana. Combine that with studies that connect cannabis to a higher risk of stroke and it raises definite concerns about cannabis use among those with cardiovascular disease.

Common Worries About Medical Marijuana

Is Smoking Weed During Pregnancy Harmful?

While medical marijuana has many benefits, patients who are researching different treatments often raise concerns about the potential cons of medical cannabis.

Harm from Smoking

Just as with smoking marijuana for recreational purposes, smoking medical cannabis may cause lung issues or even cancer. However, with the wide variety of ingestion methods available today, patients can consume marijuana by vaping it, ingesting it via edibles, or applying it in a topical solution eliminating the need to inhale smoke.


While one of the risks of marijuana is developing a dependence on it, studies show that it is often much less addictive than many prescription medications. Opioids or diazepam have much higher rates of addiction, as well as a higher risk of causing an overdose.


Some patients are hesitant to consume medical marijuana because they dont want to feel intoxicated. While many pain and anxiety prescriptions dont offer an alternative to feeling sleepy or foggy-headed, marijuana does. Choosing a strain with the proper CBD-to-THC ratio helps patients get the medicine they need while remaining clear-headed and sober. Patients may also consume THC via oils or capsules in order to cancel out or lessen a THC high.

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Is Smoking Weed In Pregnancy Bad


Guest over a year ago

karinaannina79 over a year ago

what i find hard to believe is that these ppl are actually telling you to listen to doctors and what they say… smh, it’s a shame… my ‘high-risk’ doctor actually advised me to take a benzopine and barbituate for anxiety and migraines. I am a healthcare worker myself and looked in my PDR and it states that both of these pharmceuticals HAVE been tested and cause birth defects in fetus’ . and then he also told me to quit smoking cigs and chew nicorette or put a patch on. I was shocked!!! i feel sad for the young girls out there that are looking for guidance and get a bunch of sh*t sticks to suck on and not the truth. don’t listen to these doctors or the rest of these m****s that are telling you that you’re harming your baby. Trust in God and be proud that you are taking care of business….

PS. the reason why they don’t have “any evidence to show effects of marijuana on a fetus”, is cause there isn’t any… with technology and science today why wouldn’t they already have evidence to bash something that is natural and comes from the earth???

sarah033 over a year ago


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.

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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The Effect Of Marijuana On Your Overall Health

Your overall health is very important for conception. That’s why it’s so important to do everything you can to stay healthy. For some people, cannabis can have the following negative health effects:

  • Mental health problems: Using marijuana may increase the risk of schizophrenia and social anxiety disorders for some people.
  • Automobile injury or death: Driving after using cannabis increases the likelihood of an accident.
  • Substance abuse disorders: There’s a link between cannabis use and substance dependence on drugs and alcohol. At the same time, cannabis has also been found to be an effective substitute for highly addictive opioids.

Do Negative Effects Of Marijuana Outweigh The Positives

Is Marijuana Use Safe in Pregnancy?

The answer to this question can vary from one individual to the next. Just as with alcohol, recreational marijuana users must weigh the risks and rewards against their own personalities and health conditions. The difference between alcohol and marijuana, however, is that cannabis has been proven to have a variety of medical uses, making it much more than a recreational substance. This means that patients must also decide if any potentially harmful risks of marijuana outweigh the side effects and risks of other medical treatments.

Looking at the facts, a few things are clear. First, marijuana is not as damaging to the brain or lungs of adults as was initially thought. Its much less addictive than other legal substances including nicotine, alcohol, and prescription painkillers. Finally, there is no evidence that marijuana serves as a gateway to more harmful drugs in fact, the statistics show exactly the opposite. All of these facts should be taken into consideration when weighing the pros and cons of marijuana.

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How Does Marijuana Impact A Developing Baby

What you eat, smoke and drink during pregnancy and after birth passes to your baby through your placenta and breastmilk. The chemical THC, found in marijuana, also crosses the placenta from the mother to the baby’s bloodstream. The drug exerts its effects by stimulating so-called cannabinoid receptors. And fetal cannabinoid receptors start to develop in the first trimester.

Can Marijuana Use During And After Pregnancy Harm The Baby

More research is needed on how marijuana use during pregnancy could impact the health and development of infants, given changing policies about access to marijuana, as well as significant increases over the last decade in the number of pregnant women seeking substance use disorder treatment for marijuana use.83 One study found that about 20% of pregnant women 24-years-old and younger screened positive for marijuana. However, this study also found that women were about twice as likely to screen positive for marijuana use via a drug test than they state in self-reported measures. This suggests that self-reported rates of marijuana use in pregnant females may not be an accurate measure of marijuana use.84 Additionally, in one study of dispensaries, nonmedical personnel at marijuana dispensaries were recommending marijuana to pregnant women for nausea, but medical experts warn against it.

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What This Means For You

If you smoked pot before you got pregnant, you can put any worries that it will affect your pregnancy or your baby to rest. There is no evidence that smoking marijuana before you were expecting will hurt your fetus.

It could, however, hinder your attempts at trying to conceive if you’re still in the “wanting to get pregnant” phase, so it’s best to kick the habit as soon as you start trying.

Bottom line: It’s not safe to smoke pot while you’re pregnant because of the risk of early labor, pregnancy complications and effects on your child in utero and later in life.

If youre looking for alternate ways to treat morning sickness, especially if it’s severe, ask your health care provider for suggestions there are natural remedies safer than marijuana as well as medications that have been approved by the Food & Drug Administration .

Depending on the nature of your anxiety, your doctor can recommend a combination of therapies, and, if necessary, medication thats safe for you and your baby.

If you are smoking marijuana during pregnancy, make sure you still visit the doctor regularly. Never skip your prenatal appointments because youre worried about revealing your drug use. Your doctor should be your partner in making sure your baby-to-be is healthy.

  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff.
  • What to Expect Before Youre Expecting, 2nd edition, Heidi Murkoff.

Risks To A Childs Brain Development

Is Smoking Weed Bad for Pregnant Women?

Use of cannabis during pregnancy may affect a childs brain development, behaviour and mental health into adolescence and early adulthood. The effects may be permanent. If a mother uses cannabis daily, some of the risks for the child may be:

Age 0 3 years:

  • May try and/or use cannabis earlier
  • Continue to be hyperactive, impulsive and less attentive

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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.

Preterm Labor Or Stillbirth

If you use weed during pregnancy, your baby is at higher risk for being born too early and too small. Research shows that babies born to pregnant people who are frequent cannabis users are 6% more likely to be premature and 13% more likely to have a low birth weight.

Babies are also at higher risk for being stillborn and 35% more likely to die within their first year of life. It’s still not fully clear to researchers whether higher rates of infant death is because of weed use or due to use of other substances along with weed, such as cigarettes or alcohol.

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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.

Preventive And Therapeutic Strategies

Is Smoking Weed While Pregnant Dangerous?

Drug consumption during pregnancy is a major concern for mother and offspring health. Consequently, it is necessary to screen and detect the consumption of any substance of abuse among pregnant women attending prenatal units. Although its identification is still difficult, there are evidence supporting the efficacy of routine screening in clinical history or structured questionnaires in this regard . It is worth to mention that screening tools should be used multiple times during gestation as the patientphysician relationship progresses. Throughout the different sessions, patients are more confident with their clinician, being more open to disclose substance use problems.

Figure 2. Main characteristics of comprehensive treatment for women affecting by cannabis use disorder during pregnancy and lactation. MET, motivation enhancement treatment CBT, cognitivebehavioral coping skills training ContM, contingency management approach.

In summary, there are some key points to consider when planning treatment for women drug users during pregnancy and breastfeeding:

Evaluate the main determinants of health such as access to health services and the socioeconomic level.

Focus treatment on maternalfetal binomial, bearing particularly in mind the needs of mothers to increase the motivation to achieve abstinence and not exclusively the health of the baby.

Identify comorbidities, in particular psychiatric ones.

Avoid relapse during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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Does Using Marijuana Affect Breastfeeding

  • Chemicals from marijuana can be passed to your baby through breast milk. THC is stored in fat and is slowly released over time, meaning your baby could still be exposed even after you stop using marijuana.
  • However, data on the effects of marijuana exposure to your baby through breastfeeding are limited and conflicting. To limit potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding mothers should avoid marijuana use.11, 1416

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Clearly you can say, Dont smoke during pregnancy no matter what youre smoking. But for the remainder, its the precautionary principle: Until we know more you probably shouldnt do it, McCormick summed up.

The NAS report drilled down into other health effects during pregnancy, like whether the babies of moms who used marijuana are more likely to wind up in the NICU or experience sudden infant death syndrome and cognitive and academic achievement challenges later in life. And on these important questions, it was equivocal: The researchers found limited, insufficient, or no evidence.

Still, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say that there are no approved indications or recommendations regarding prenatal marijuana use even though the impact of prenatal cannabis use isnt yet fully understood.

Even so, Young-Wolff said. sufficient evidence an association between prenatal marijuana use and lower offspring birth weight, and limited research shows a correlation with some developmental delays or difficulties with executive functioning in the child like problems with impulse control and attention. And thats enough to make health professionals wary.

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Brain Development And Mental Health Problems During Childhood

There’s increasing evidence that weed exposure may disrupt normal brain development of a fetus. Impulse control and hyperactivity as well as challenges with visual and spatial reasoning have been linked to exposure to weed in the womb.

Your child’s long-term mental health is at risk, too. Research shows that babies whose parents used weed while pregnant are more likely than others to be anxious and aggressive between ages 3 and 6.

What Does The Science Tell Us About Marijuana And Fertility

Is It Okay to Smoke Pot During Pregnancy?

The simple summary is that theres a lot we still dont know about marijuana and reproductive health. Ethical limitations prevent thorough studies into how cannabis impacts fertility and fetal development, so right now, the science is largely based on observational studies of cannabis users. That means we don’t have the most conclusive results. Some studies show effects from marijuana use on male and female fertility other studies dont.

As one 2020 study of marijuana and female fertility explains, Studies are limited in number, with small sample sizes, and are hampered by methodological challenges related to confounding and other potential biases.There remain critical gaps in the literature about the potential risks of cannabis use.

Research into marijuanas impact on people of reproductive age is ongoing, so its important to stay up to date and seek guidance from your provider. For now, lets explore what we do know about cannabis and reproductive health.

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