CAN YOU USE MARIJUANA DURING PREGNANCY?

In America, more than half appraise the legalization of marijuana. But there are different speculations as to whether it is normal or ideal for our health, especially to pregnant mothers. Before finding an answer to that, let us examine closely what the drug is and why people use it in the first place.

Marijuana, also known as cannabis among other given names, is the most commonly used illicit drug globally. This drug is derived from the plant cannabis sativa. According to the United Nations, 158.8 million people around the world abuse the drug. This is more than 3.8% of the earth’s population. In 2017, 6 percent of high school seniors in the United States were reported using marijuana daily.

People use the drug for different purposes. Some use marijuana for the purpose of recreation. Others, however, are reported to use it on medical purposes—possibly, to treat certain medical conditions such as glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, cancer, and muscle spasm caused by multiple sclerosis. This type of marijuana is called medical marijuana, and you only get it from an authorized seller—called a dispensary—when your medical doctor approves of it.

Back to the most important question: Can marijuana be used during pregnancy? Why does this question arise? Some pregnant women use marijuana and they feel absolutely comfortable using the drug. Does it cause any harm to the unborn child? Or can the baby be healthy inside while still on marijuana use? These questions have become a concern to medical experts, so they warn that smoking cannabis, or infusing it into the body in any form while pregnant can pose a very big danger on the health of your baby. How is it possible when a number of states in the U.S have legalized it? Let us consider why medical researchers have come into that unanimously adamantine conclusion.

There are more than 400 known chemicals in the cannabis, the one of most importance being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—which is the primary psychoactive ingredient or component in the drug. Some of these known chemicals find their way into the baby’s brain and tissues when taken by the pregnant mother. Immediately she takes the drug, the level of THC in the blood of the placenta is approximately 3-10 times the level of her own blood. This crafts a higher tendency for THC and other foreign substances to get into the bloodstream of the placenta, thus creating complicated health issues. Furthermore, it reduces the flow of oxygen, which affects greatly the growth and development of the baby.

But since medical marijuana is safe for nausea, is it not safe for me, altogether, as a pregnant mother? While adequate research has to be carried out, there are still complications on air. Granted, doctors prescribe medical marijuana for medical nausea, but it is not clear if the use doesn’t have an adverse effect on your fetus. Consequently, you are advised to meet with your doctor to prescribe other ways or medications to combat nausea without the use of cannabis. This is because, according to medical experts, nausea occurs in the earlier stages of pregnancy—when the drug is more likely to cause an adverse effect on the developing fetus.   

On the part of the mother, using marijuana can increase her risk of anemia and heart rate and a decrease in blood pressure. Marijuana also leads to “highness”, causing impaired coordination, contributing to a higher risk of confusion and forgetfulness on the pregnant woman.

According to a 2017 research, other potential effects include:
1. Low birth weight

2. Premature birth

3. Stillbirth

What about vaping or edibles? Aren’t they safe? Some pregnant women consider vaping or consuming the edibles, and feel comfortable. But these forms still contain the active ingredient, THC. When ingested, the THC still enters into the bloodstream.  While these forms may be considered safe, the medical community has not yet proven the safety of them. Therefore, they advise that you stay away from them altogether.

But there stands a big challenge on the path of medical researchers—the inability to adequately tell if the drug is solely responsible for the complications—since these women also engage in other forms of smoking. Another reason why it is a big challenge is that no medical researcher will tell a pregnant woman to smoke cannabis, else he would be blamed for the developmental problems of the child when the mother later gives birth. The information is only got from new mothers who smoked marijuana before giving birth.

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