Image Source:

Martha during her pregnancy never took alcohol or smoked. However coaxed by her boyfriend she smoked marijuana during her first trimester of pregnancy to stop morning sickness. She also continued to use weed to allay her sciatica pain

She feels that using marijuana in moderation is ok. Martha is not alone and a lot of women feel that smoking weed is benign and does not cause any harm. A number of states are legalizing marijuana and its use for the medicinal purpose is increasing. The numbers of expectant mothers who are using weed to allay their sufferings are increasing far outstripping the research and scientific understanding of the effects of the drug on the body and growing fetus.

However, nothing is far from reality. Research has suggested that the main psychotropic substance which gives the high, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC can cross the placenta and reach the fetus too cause irreparable damage. Another possibility is the components being excreted in breast milk of lactating mothers and causes severe developmental anomalies in neonates. This could include cerebral deformities, lack of intelligence and low birth weight.

Quit smoking weed 7 months pregnant? Weed is not safe

The myth of safety of marijuana cannot be established on the basis of data which is available with the medical fraternity. In a study by well-known obstetrician at Denver Health Medical Center who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, Dr. Torri Metz it was found that 10% of her patients have acknowledged that they used weed in recent times.

How to quit smoking weed anxiety?

A survey which was published in December revealed that 4% of pregnant women acknowledged that they have used marijuana during their pregnancy. This is compared to 2.7 % two years back. This increase has been attributed to an advertising blitz and a campaign before weed use for recreational purposes had been legalized in four states of the US. Undoubtedly a willful campaign to dilute the belief that weed can cause health hazard has been undertaken with the full connivance of the authorities. However when even simple OTC drugs are contraindicated in pregnancy, how is it possible to declare that weed is safe during pregnancy?

There is absolutely no data to declare that prenatal marijuana is not harmful. Most of the data which are available is based on two sets of researchers, in Pittsburgh and in Ottawa, who have long studied children exposed to THC in the womb. The results are often interpreted wrongfully too declare that marijuana use is safe in pregnancy. The fact that no bad effects are visible during the period of evaluation does not guarantee that there will not be any adverse reactions or effects later. In one case it was revealed that 6-year-olds born to mothers who used weed once or twice daily in the first trimester showed a reduced ability to understand concepts in listening and reading. At age 10, children exposed to THC in utero were more impetuous than other children and less able to focus their attention. Worse children of mothers who are die hard marijuana users had very low scores in mathematics and spellings at the age of 14 than their compatriots. Studies have revealed that marijuana use by mother causes changes in the brains of fetuses, 18 to 22 weeks old. Researchers have found that male fetuses developed abnormal function off amygdala, the part of the brain which regulates emotion. The period is important because critical circuits and neurotransmitting receptors are formed in this time and use of weed and other psychotropic substances can jeopardize this phase of development. These circuits are important for regulation of emotions and reward, even motor function, and cognition.

How to quit smoking weed for good? Young mothers at higher risk

Use of marijuana was more prominent in young mothers below the age of 20. Studies revealed that 7.5% of mothers between the ages of 18 to 22 used marijuana during their pregnancy as compared to 2% in expectant mothers between 25 to 38 years. Young mothers who are just starting their careers are more stressed than their elderly compatriots and this could be one of the reasons of turning to marijuana as a respite from stress.

How long to stop smoking weed before pregnancy?  Effects are not visible but become when it is late

The effects of weed use may not be so dramatic but it does not mean they are of no consequence. It could mean the difference between getting an A grade and B grade. Therefore the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have strictly forbade prenatal cannabis use even for medicinal purpose because of established link of its use with cognitive impairment and academic underachievement. However strangely state and Federal agencies have maintained a stoic silence or are ambiguous about the issue. Only 10 state departments have put warnings about pre natal marijuana use on their websites. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has also putt some material on prenatal drug use on their website. There is absolutely no comment by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a statement, the CDC just mentioned concern about memory and attention problems among children exposed to THC in utero. It added that the current evidence about the ill effects of prenatal weed use is insufficient and inconsistent. Some studies do hint about risks associated with weed use in pregnancy like low weight babies and premature child birth. Another author of a study said that the public should not be alarmed on the basis of a few studies. There have been studies done, and there is some risk.

Another problem with the studies is that they are conducted on pregnant women and they often underreport cannabis use. Since this fact cannot be confirmed by tests of urine or the umbilical cord. Pregnant women also addicted on other substances like cigarette, alcohol, tobacco or roll joints. Therefore it is not possible to separate the effects of cannabis from other substances. Different component of weed like THC is stored in fat and therefore can remain in the blood of the expectant mother for days and months. Therefore it is not possible to tell if the effects of weed on the fetus are is limited to the hours a woman feels high.