Are you pregnant? Have you considered using cannabis to help with symptoms? You’re not alone. Studies have found that about 1 in 20 pregnant women use marijuana. Many pick up a joint for self-medication. They find tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a great relief for nausea and digestive problems.
However, it remains uncertain how cannabis can impact a baby’s development. The fact is there’s only so much research out there due to cannabis’s long prohibition. Scientists and medical professionals alike don’t entirely understand how THC affects pregnancy. With that, they recommend women DO NOT use cannabis while pregnant.
Does Cannabis Affect Fertility?
When it comes to men, it’s been found that heavy marijuana decreases fertility. Studies reveal that men who smoke cannabis on a consistent basis have a notably less seminal count in comparison to those who don’t. Furthermore, these sperm cells have a tendency for unusual behavior.
The same is true for women. Those who smoke chronically are likely to produce fewer eggs in comparison to those who don’t smoke. In a study done by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, women who had consumed cannabis for 1 year before trying Vitro Fertilization (IFV) had produced 25% fewer eggs.
This might come as a surprise to some considering cannabis has the ability to make us more sexually aroused. The truth of the matter is the above facts don’t pertain to everyone. As a Psychology Today article points out, there are just as many people who find THC enhances sex as there are who feel cannabis inhibits sex. Even scientific studies have shown this mix of opinions.
The importance of this knowledge is the same could be true for pregnancy. Not every woman nor developing baby will react the same way to cannabis. And as of now, some people believe there may be advantages to getting high while pregnant.
What We Know About Weed and Pregnancy
- Lower birth weight
- Poor automatic control
- Ventricular septal defect (also known as “hole in the heart”)
Though we don’t know a whole lot about how THC affects a fetus, we know how smoke itself causes complications. When a mother inhales, she carries oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. Ultimately, limiting growth in a variety of vital developmental areas, including:
- Body weight
- Foot length
- Head size
- Overall length
As mentioned, there is still a great deal of research which needs to be done in order to truly understand the way THC plays a role in developing fetuses.
What Can Mothers Do for Pain?
Women who find themselves in chronic pain or a restless sickness due to their pregnancy should speak to their doctors before consuming weed. Though there remains no proof that cannabis use causes birth defects, it’s certain marijuana causes unfavorable neuro-developmental effects when exposed before birth.
It can be assumed there are stoner mothers out there curious as to whether or not it’s okay to go back to the habit following a pregnancy. As is expected, there are some factors to keep in mind when raising a baby around cannabis.
What Effect Does Cannabis Have on Babies?
Similar to pregnancy, there’s only so much research out there to answer this question. When considering how cannabis affects a child, we must look into two areas:
- Effects from a Mother Consuming During Pregnancy What happens to a child’s development when a mother consumes cannabis during pregnancy? Research has found that preschoolers born into this condition had developed worse verbal, memory, and reasoning capabilities. Furthermore, they held behavioral traits such as anxious, absent-minded, compulsive, and over-active. Again, this isn’t to say every mother who consumed cannabis while pregnant had children with these traits. Rather, it was something to reoccur throughout multiple studies. Just as consistent in research are the effects that continue into adolescence. These include heightened chance of depression and anxiety. Even more so, these teenagers generally had more trouble in school. Particularly, with reading and spelling. It’s important to note these are very similar personality traits associated with people who start smoking cannabis early in life.
- Effects from a Mother Consuming After Pregnancy. Granted that you aren’t smoking it in an area where a baby or child can inhale secondhand smoke, cannabis will have no physical effects from mother to child. That is unless you’re currently breastfeeding. Cannabis will pass through breast milk and can result in your baby experience a slow weight gain and deficient sucking. There has also been some speculation of breast milk containing THC causing similar developmental problems. A doctor is going to give you a hard NO when it comes to smoking cannabis. Regardless of your circumstances. However, as long as you’re not breastfeeding, consuming cannabis while raising a child is safe for your child’s development, as long as you’re not smoking it around them and doing so responsibly.
The Wait for Further Research
The bottom line is there’s still too little known about cannabis’ effects on pregnancy to make it okay for women to consume it. As prohibition comes to a close, researchers now have the opportunity to look into deeper into topics as such.
As discussed, smoking cannabis has some similar effects to that of smoking tobacco. Therefore, you shouldn’t smoke while pregnant.
Still, it shouldn’t be forgotten there will remain prejudices against parents who consume weed. Unlike alcohol, cannabis will continue to be seen as an illicit drug for some time. With that, medical professionals will speak against it while raising a child.
However, if you smoke weed responsibly, there’s no harm in doing so while being a parent.