Can You Use Cannabis While Pregnant?

April 18, 2023
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Can you smoke weed while pregnant?

Is it safe to smoke weed or use cannabis edibles when you are pregnant? Smoking marijuana while pregnant remains a controversial topic due to varying opinions and perspectives. However, with the increasing legalization of marijuana, it is crucial to educate oneself on the potential risks and effects of marijuana use during pregnancy. 

In this article, we will examine the current scientific evidence surrounding smoking weed while pregnant to help you make an informed decision.

Cannabis and pregnancy: what are the risks?

If you regularly use cannabis and you get pregnant, what should you do? Can you use cannabis as normal, or should you use less, or should you entirely abstain? Perhaps you have already become pregnant and are unsure if you can still smoke weed. Or maybe you would like to know if you can use cannabis while pregnant in a "safer" way. Alternatively, you may be contemplating taking up weed exclusively to treat morning sickness during pregnancy.

According to research published by the National Institute of Health, the main active component in marijuana (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]) readily crosses the placenta, with cannabinoid receptors identified in both the fetal brain and the placenta. Therefore, smoking marijuana while pregnant could potentially negatively impact the development of the fetus.

To date, there is no set recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the use of cannabis during pregnancy, with officials concluding, "Data are insufficient to say yes or no." It is nearly impossible to get adequate funding and participants to conduct credible studies on using cannabis while pregnant, since cannabis is federally illegal in the United States.

Is smoking weed during pregnancy safe?

Recent data indicates that using cannabis during pregnancy may not be harmful. 

Dr. Natalie Davis, a neonatologist and pediatrician at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has seen patients rejected by other hospitals due to testing positive for THC when they sought lactation consultations and breastfeeding guidance from her. 

Davis and colleagues have found that newborns exposed to marijuana did not do worse than babies not exposed to weed. While the outcomes were not better, the researchers did not find any significant illnesses that could be attributed to consuming weed while pregnant. 

Can you smoke weed while pregnant?

It is reported that some women use THC during pregnancy to alleviate severe nausea associated with their pregnancy. There are Facebook groups in which mothers discuss using cannabis for morning sickness symptoms. However, this practice has not been scientifically proven safe and is not recommended. Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to consult their health care providers before using marijuana for morning sickness.

Studies on animals indicate that moderate doses of THC administered to pregnant or nursing mothers can have a lasting effect on their children, including increased stress reactions and abnormal social behavior. It has also been shown that prenatally exposed animals may have an increased risk for learning deficits.

Despite animal studies showing that marijuana use early in pregnancy increases the likelihood of miscarriage, there is no direct evidence to suggest that marijuana use increases the probability of miscarriage in humans.

Child hyperactivity and developmental disorders have been associated with the use of marijuana during pregnancy. There is mixed evidence regarding the effects of using marijuana while pregnant as it relates to low birth weight or premature birth, even though long-term use may increase the chances of both. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urges pregnant women to avoid all vaping products, regardless of their contents.

Is it illegal to smoke while pregnant?

Guttmacher Institute statistics show that as of July 1, 2022, 24 of the 50 states deem using a controlled substance (including cannabis) during pregnancy grounds for child abuse charges, with 3 considering it grounds for civil commitment. These laws apply even to states where cannabis is legal for medicinal and recreational purposes. As a result, information about this topic is relatively taboo and people feel scared and anxious when talking about this subject. 

When to stop smoking weed while pregnant

The majority of women who report smoking weed during pregnancy are typically regular users before getting pregnant and turning to the herb to help manage some of the difficulties that come along with pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester. During the first three-month stretch, women typically deal with the most unpleasant side effects such as nausea and vomiting.

InhaleMD's CEO (and emergency room physician), Dr. Jordan Tishler, believes expectant moms should avoid using marijuana during pregnancy without exception. In addition, pregnant women who smoke weed regularly should plan to quit before trying to conceive if they plan to become pregnant.

According to Dr. Tishler, women who use marijuana for medical purposes should stop using it three months before conception or as soon as they learn they are pregnant. 

Can you eat edibles while pregnant?

We know that smoking may not be the ideal method of consumption during pregnancy, but are cannabis edibles bad for pregnant ladies? It turns out that fetal exposure to THC is about 10% of what mom consumes, regardless of whether she ingests edibles, smokes, or vapes. The unborn fetus is also exposed long after consumption due to its storage in maternal fat.

Conclusions on smoking weed while pregnant

So what's a cannabis-loving momma to do? The jury is still out on whether or not using marijuana during pregnancy is harmful, but for the time being, it might be best to err on the side of caution. If you're pregnant and can't bear to live without your Mary Jane, we recommend talking to your doctor about how to use cannabis safely while expecting.

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