Marijuana Use During Pregnancy
Medical marijuana has been prescribed for thousands of years for its analgesic properties; treating pain, nausea and inflammation. It was prescribed during child birth, and was even prescribed to Queen Elizabeth of England in treating her menstrual pain. In states where medical marijuana is legal today, patients are often prescribed cannabis to treat many of the same symptoms that are also associated with pregnancy. So is marijuana safe during pregnancy, or is it potentially harmful to the baby?
The two main chemicals found in marijuana are THC and CBD. THC produces the psychoactive effects of cannabis while CBD has an indirect influence on the endocannabinoid system which is found naturally in the human body. When marijuana is consumed it binds to the cannabinoid receptors which mediate several physiological and psychological functions. Different strains of marijuana contain different levels of THC and CBD, so when it comes to receiving the positive medical benefits of cannabis, higher-levels of CBD are more beneficial.
See Also: The Endocannabinoid System
For nearly a century now, oppressive laws have kept researchers from fully discovering the medical benefits of cannabis. Only a few studies on marijuana and pregnancy have been conducted, and much more research is needed.
A study taken during the early 90s administered the development of nearly 60 Jamaican children whose mothers smoked marijuana during pregnancy. The results proved that there were no significant differences in the developmental processes in children of marijuana-smoking and non-smoking mothers. In fact, the children of the marijuana-smoking mothers were more social and less-irritable than their counterparts.
“no significant differences in the developmental processes in children of marijuana-smoking and non-smoking mothers”
In 1999, researchers discovered that a developing embryo expresses cannabinoid receptors early in the implantation stage that respond to anadamide, a cannabinoid binding molecule found in both male and female reproductive systems. This is very important in regulating the timing of embryonic implantation and uterine receptivity which can increase the likelihood for pregnancy in certain women.
Does Marijuana Use During Pregnancy Cause Autism?
A recent, 2018 study by the Internal Society for Autism Research (INSAR) conducted research into the maternal cannabis use in pregnancy and the it’s correlation with autism spectrum disorder. The objective was to “determine whether maternal cannabis use in pregnancy is associated with adverse neurodevelopment in a case-control study[.]” This study was designed to evaluate the effects of environmental and genetic factors on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental delay (DD). Children from 20 different California counties were chosen, ranging from ages 24 to 60 months.
Their results were reported to have 93% of woman using marijuana and 7% using cannabinoids, such as CBD. The arranged data was sparse and results, preliminary. Cannabis use was not associated with DD. They concluded, that with widespread decriminalization and overall availability has led to dramatic increases in use. However, overall marijuana use during pregnancy has been shown that fetal exposure to cannabis alone does not increase ASD risk. On the other hand, the combined use of marijuana and tobacco can be hazardous to fetal neurodevelopment.
Marijuana itself is reportedly harmless and there have been no marijuana-related deaths. There exists an overwhelming amount of studies that in fact prove cannabis is beneficial to human health. But when burning plant matter such as, cannabis and tobacco, carcinogens are produced. So when it comes to ingesting cannabis, vaporization tends to be the most beneficial medically.
Is it Safe to Smoke Marijuana During Pregnancy?
Mothers who advocate marijuana use during pregnancy usually do so in order to help with the nausea associated with morning sickness. In some case, it can be fatal to both the mother’s and child’s health. Therefore, treatment can be very important. Due to the laws and public perception marijuana still retains, not everyone can come out and offer clear testimonials on their experiences. Yet there still exist a growing number of those who claim marijuana is a miracle in treating anxiety and nausea during pregnancy.
See Also: Does CBD Get You High?
The decision on whether or not marijuana is the right choice during pregnancy is between a mother and her doctor. This decision should be based on both the positive and negative effects marijuana use may have. Each strain of marijuana contains different levels of THC and CBD which affects the body differently. With the different levels of cannabinoids, the results marijuana can have on the body may vary. The research that has been conducted in recent years has provided much needed insight in the topic. Yet, more research is needed in order to find a positive way to manipulate the physiological functions in the body.