While cannabis is riding a steady wave of acceptance, its role in the lives of pregnant women remains controversial. Weed’s status as a federally illegal substance has hindered medical research, which means a lot of what we know about the benefits of cannabis – including how a baby’s health and development are impacted by its mother’s use – is anecdotal. This contradiction can be confusing to pregnant women who believe cannabis might be helpful, yet are concerned it could negatively impact the health of their baby.
For moms-to-be thinking about taking cannabis while pregnant, here are 3 things you should know.
1. Cannabis can help address multiple pregnancy symptoms
Knowing what we know about weed and how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it’s not difficult to understand why use of cannabis by pregnant women is reportedly on the rise. Pregnancy takes a tremendous toll on the body, and for many women suffering from common issues like nausea, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, cannabis is the most accessible and effective solution. And the myriad products containing CBD give pregnant women even more ways to harness the healing properties of cannabis without its psychoactive effects.
2. But the CDC recommends not using cannabis during pregnancy
The CDC’s position on cannabis use during pregnancy is pretty clear: don’t do it. This is because there is some research indicating that the chemicals in cannabis, particularly THC, could be harmful to a baby’s development. These potential risks extend beyond pregnancy into breastfeeding, as the agency suggest that breast milk is another way to pass along these chemicals even after the mother has stopped taking cannabis. And because their stance encompasses weed in all forms, the CDC recommends avoiding all cannabis products including edibles, topicals, vaping and dabbing.
3. Still, the research is inconclusive
When reading the CDC’s recommendation, it’s important to take note of language like “Although more research is needed…” and “data on the effects of marijuana exposure…are limited and conflicting” because it spotlights how little we know about whether or not cannabis impairs a baby’s growth and development. There’s simply no definitive scientific evidence yet, and the ability to research further is dependent upon legalization at the federal level.
But here’s what moms-to-be can do in the meantime:
* No smoking. Smoking introduces carcinogens into the body, so it’s best to avoid that while pregnant.
* Talk to your doctor. Speak to a medical professional if you’re interested in exploring cannabis during pregnancy. If your doctor is uninformed, call a patient center or dispensary – outside your state if necessary – for additional information and resources.
* Use your best judgment. For some women cannabis is the only thing that helps. But moms-to-be must ultimately focus on creating the best environment for their baby’s development, and that means taking good care of oneself first.
Did cannabis help you during or after your pregnancy? Tell us all about it on Instagram!