Ask The Doctor: Can I use marijuana during my pregnancy?

Dear Dr. Green:

I’m 11 weeks into my pregnancy and suffer from some pretty bad morning sickness. Can marijuana help with my nausea? Is cannabis safe for pregnant women? — Erica L., Spokane, Wash.

Dear Erica:

Pregnancy can be such a wonderful time, but unfortunately at least 70 percent of women have some form of morning sickness that can be mild or severe. During pregnancy, my wife had such severe vomiting that she had to be admitted to the hospital twice.

We try to keep treatment of this condition very conservative so that the developing fetus is not affected. These treatments can include changing your diet, herbal teas, aromatherapy, fresh air, acupuncture or an acupressure band. If the conservative measures are unsuccessful, we consider medications which do not cross the placental barrier to the blood supply of the fetus.

RELATED STORY: Study: Marijuana use has increased in pregnant women

I have multiple concerns about the use of cannabis during pregnancy. There are studies which have linked its use to miscarriage, low birth weight and premature birth. We have also seen in studies in the monkey that THC will pass through the placental barrier into the fetus, however the fetus does not readily metabolize the THC.

RELATED STORY: Here’s the latest on pregnancy and marijuana use

There is considerable concern about THC in the developing brain of young adults and I have significant concern about damage in the developing fetal brain. Cannabis has been found to be associated with developmental delays, behavioral and learning difficulties.

Therefore, I do not feel it is worth the risk of using cannabis during pregnancy.

This information is intended only to complement, and not to replace or contradict, any health or medical advice or information provided by healthcare professionals. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. 

women’s health
medical marijuana

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