Weed Vs Prescription Drugs: What’s Safer For Nausea
Carmen, who is four months’ pregnant in Georgia, had to be hospitalized to treat nausea during her first pregnancy six years ago. She decided to use marijuana during her pregnancy now because she’s afraid about pharmaceutical side effects and also doesn’t want to be hospitalized again. USA TODAY is not using Carmen’s last name or hometown because marijuana isn’t legal in Georgia.
Carmen had to triple the dose of the prescription drug Zofran during her first pregnancy to relieve her extreme symptoms. She was so nauseous that she couldn’t consume food for long periods of time.
Using marijuana was more effective than taking multiple pills,” she says.
Carmen says she researched side effects of marijuana on the fetus when figuring out whether to use cannabis during pregnancy. But she says the studies she saw covered both smoking marijuana and smoking cigarettes, without differentiating. She says that because marijuana is more natural than the tobacco products in cigarettes, she didnt know how to interpret the studies.
What especially worried Carmen were reports about birth defects in babies whose mothers had taken Zofran, the brand name for odansetron. But Samantha Parker, assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University and lead author of a study on odansetron, “this is a relatively safe medication for treatment of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.”
Up to 13% of pregnant women with nausea and vomiting take Zofran, Parker says.
Why Its Risky To Use Marijuana While Pregnant
The ingredient in cannabis that gets you high, a chemical called THC, can affect a baby in the womb. It crosses through the placenta, the organ that nourishes your baby with oxygen and nutrients.
Its not clear how much THC it takes to cause damage to a babys developing brain. But today’s marijuana tends to have more THC than that of years past.
Expert groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say they still don’t know about all the ways cannabis use during pregnancy could be harmful. Because we need more research, experts recommend that you play it safe by quitting marijuana if youre:
Not even medical marijuana is safe, according to ACOG.
If you need help giving up marijuana, talk to your doctor. They may be able to refer you to a therapist or counselor who can help you quit.
What Are The Dangers Of Smoking Marijuana During Pregnancy
Smoking marijuana while pregnant does have health effects on your baby.
“There’s a common misconception that because is a plant, it’s safe,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
With marijuana use in pregnancy, your baby may also be more likely to have:
There may also be a higher risk of some birth defects, stillbirth or miscarriage, premature birth and admission to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit . A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewing more than 660,000 pregnancies found the rate of preterm birth among reported cannabis users was significantly higher than nonusers – about 12%.
Growing research is showing that THC may change the way your baby’s brain grows and develops. In fact, the Surgeon General issued a health advisory on marijuana use among pregnant women.
“No amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or adolescence is known to be safe,” the Surgeon General’s advisory on marijuana use during pregnancy says. “Until and unless more is known about the long-term impact, the safest choice for pregnant women and adolescents is not to use marijuana.”
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How Long Does It Take To Get Weed Out Of A Pregnant Person
Whether youre pregnant or not, it can take up to 30 days for cannabinoids you ingested to fully leave your system. In cases of light cannabis use, THC should fully clear your system within a few days.
Beware of detox products designed to flush THC out of your system if youre pregnant. These products are so powerful they might accidentally flush out your precious cargo along with your stored cannabinoids.
What Is Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana is sometimes used to treat certain health conditions, like cancer or severe pain. In many states, medical marijuana is legal to use with a recommendation from your health care provider. It can be smoked, vaped or eaten. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana as a safe and effective medicine for any health condition.
In some states, marijuana is legal for personal use thats not for medical reasons.
Even if its legal where you live for either personal or medical use, no amount of marijuana is safe to use marijuana during pregnancy, even to treat morning sickness. There is also no safe way to use marijuana. If youre thinking of using marijuana to help with morning sickness, talk to your provider about other treatments that are less harmful to your baby.
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Smoking Pot While Pregnant Represents A Danger To Your Unborn Child Please Avoid It
Now we can answer the question. No, it is not safe to smoke marijuana/weed/pot while pregnant.
Despite this, many women do. About 1 in 20 women in the United States reports using marijuana while pregnant. You might think, Ill switch to vaping, that eliminates the smoke. True! Unfortunately, this still introduces THC to the baby through your bloodstream.
We know its hard to give up a habitespecially if you think it helps your health . When pregnant however, youre making decisions for two. Marijuana use is one habit we recommend you do give up. For your babys sake, if nothing else. It represents a risk to your babybut its one you can control.
Now, its not as dangerous as a substance like meth. Thats horrible for you and our baby! The two are miles apart. Nevertheless, marijuana can still endanger an unborn, highly vulnerable baby.
Other, safer options do exist to help with morning sickness and pain. Ask your gynecologist for their recommendations.
The Hazy Evidence On Smoking Weed In Pregnancy
Since the late 1980s, researchers have known that THC the active ingredient in cannabis can cross the placenta and reach the fetus. More recently, researchers have found that THC is also secreted in breast milk up to six days after the last use. So that means the fetus is exposed to THC, and the concerns about marijuanas health effects during pregnancy and lactation stem mainly from this fact.
One of the best summaries of the evidence on the health effects of cannabis comes from a major report out of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. More than a dozen experts reviewed more than 10,000 studies published between 1999 and 2016.
Overall, the report suggested weed shows promise for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and cancer patients but it also complicated the narrative that weed is a safe drug. The report found that it may increase the risk of respiratory problems , schizophrenia and psychosis, getting into car accidents, and lagging social achievement. The report also uncovered pregnancy-related problems. In particular, the strongest link they uncovered showed that babies exposed to cannabis in utero tended to have lower birth weights.
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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.
Smoking Too Much Cannabis Heres How To Overcome It
Which organ is the most affected when we smoke weed every day? If you answered the brain, you got it right.
Weed heavily affects brain development and the earlier we start smoking it, the more severe the consequences will be. A study conducted by researchers at Duke University found a strong correlation between frequent marijuana consumption and cognitive decline.
Here are some of the most notable long-term effects that you might experience if you smoke weed every day:
- Breathing problems often accompanied by coughs
- Cognitive decline of brain development
- Possible negative effects on child development if smoked during pregnancy
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Is It Harmful To Use Marijuana Before Pregnancy
Yes. Before pregnancy, using marijuana can affect your fertility and make it hard for you to get pregnant. Marijuana can affect:
- Hormones that your body needs to get pregnant. Hormones are chemicals made by the body.
- Your menstrual cycle. This is the process of your ovaries releasing an egg every month.
- A mans sperm count . A mans sperm fertilizes a womans egg to begin a pregnancy.
How Many Women Use Marijuana During Pregnancy
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.
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Can Using Marijuana During Pregnancy Cause Problems For Your Baby
Yes. When you use marijuana during pregnancy, THC and other chemicals can pass through the placenta to your baby. The placenta grows in your uterus and supplies your baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Chemicals from marijuana also may pass to your babys brain.
Researchers are continuing to study the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy. Women who use marijuana may smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use other street drugs, making it hard to know exactly how marijuana affects pregnancy. Some studies suggest that if you use marijuana during pregnancy, your baby may have problems, including:
If you use marijuana during pregnancy, your baby can have problems after birth and may need to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit . A NICU is the nursey in a hospital where sick newborns get care. These problems include:
- Withdrawal symptoms, like tremors , seizures, vomiting, slow weight gain or long periods of crying after birth. These symptoms usually go away within the first two weeks after birth.
- Problems with sleeping.
- Problems with behavior, memory, learning, problem-solving, depression and paying attention.
If Mom Smokes Marijuana Does The Baby Too
Moms and moms-to-be want whats best for their babies. To give them the best start in life they sacrifice their bodiesand their sleepand give up a number of things. Sushi and alcohol are both on the list of things to avoid. So too, is .
I understand that some moms seek out marijuana to relieve their morning sickness, anxiety, or pain, said Camille Fung, MD, a neonatologist with University of Utah Health. But because existing research on the effects of marijuana on the developing brain is conflicting, the safest choice at this moment for babies whose brains are constantly developing new cells and connections should be to abstain from marijuana use.
During pregnancy babies are fed through an organ called the placenta. If a mom uses marijuana in any form while pregnant, the THC in the drugthe ingredient that gives you the highcan be passed through the placenta to the developing fetus. This could cause developmental delays and behavioral problems, leading to problems throughout life.
After giving birth, moms should continue to abstain from marijuana if they are breastfeeding. THC can be passed to infants through breast milk, potentially impacting brain development and growth in those crucial first few months. Also, it is not possible to pump and dump breastmilk when it comes to marijuana due to the fact THC is stored in body fat and can be released slowly over time.
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Alternative To Weed For Mental Health
Some people use weed to help with mental health issues, and there is some evidence that it can help treat issues like insomnia, anxiety, and PTSD. But again, using cannabis for these purposes during pregnancy is not something that should continue.
If you are dealing with a mental health issue during pregnancy, you should discuss this with a healthcare provider. They can suggest pregnancy-safe options for managing your mental health condition, including psychotherapy, exercise, and meditation.
If you are dealing with a mental health condition that is impacting your ability to function or feel well, you should know that there are medications, including antidepressants, that may be safe for you to take during pregnancy. Discuss your options with a healthcare team.
Thumbs Up: Benefits Of Smoking Weed While Pregnant
Smoking weed during pregnancy may seem to be all bad but there are some good too. Studies suggested that taking orally-ingested cannabis in the late stage of pregnancy can help with some discomforts like pain, nausea and if you are a very lucky pot-smoking pregnant woman, can ease the pains of contractions during delivery. The main thing to keep in mind it that anyone should, however, do this only with the approval and supervision of medical professionals.
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What Will Happen If I Stopped Smoking Weed At 15 Weeks Pregnant
At 15 weeks or around four months pregnant, your baby has already developed a significantly complex nervous system and is beginning to resemble a human being. Some of the most fundamental aspects of embryonic development occur before the 15 week mark, but quitting weed at four months pregnant is still better than quitting weed later on in your pregnancy.
Alternative To Medical Marijuana
Many people use cannabis products to treat medical conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, HIV, glaucoma, and irritable bowel syndrome. However, if you are planning to become pregnant, or are currently pregnant, you will need to stop using cannabis for medical purposes. This means that you cannot smoke, vape, or use edibles.
“, other arrangements will need to be made to address the medical concerns that were being treated with cannabis, explains Dr. Tishler.
ACOG suggests that you talk to a medical provider and discuss alternative treatments that are safe during pregnancy.
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Effects Of Smoking Weed While Pregnant
Some people mistakenly believe that marijuana is harmless because its derived from a plant. This isnt true. Marijuana use during pregnancy can affect you and your baby in many negative ways. Heres 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 babys growth.
In a study of more than 5,600 women who used marijuana during their pregnancies, researchers found that compared to pregnant women who didnt use pot, pregnant women who used weed had:
- More than double the rate of preterm birth
- Increased rates of placental abruption
In the same study, the babies of the pregnant women who used marijuana were more likely to:
- Be small for gestational age
- Be transferred to neonatal intensive care
- Have five-minute Apgar scores lower than 4 out of 10
Research elsewhere has linked marijuana use in pregnancy to these effects on babies:
- Increased irritability in newborns
- Possible link to stillbirth: Researchers arent 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
Smoking Weed During Pregnancy: Safe Spot Or Danger Zone
There is a reason why marijuana is one of the most illegal drugs consumed all over the world. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , marijuana is the most commonly consumed drug in the United States with 37.6 million users in 2016 but this is not a question of the legal implications of smoking marijuana while pregnant even though 1 in 20 women are reported to be smoking pot while pregnant. This is a critical analysis of how marijuana use during pregnancy can affect you and your baby. While some studies have downplayed the effects of the use of marijuana while pregnant, attributing the dangers more to tobacco, other doctors would advise to avoid it altogether just so to ensure the womans safety and the safety of a baby as well.
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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.