Can I smoke marijuana while pregnant?

When I was researching morning sickness remedies I came across a bunch of posts where women were managing their morning sickness with cannabis. What?! Really?! Of course I had to look into the ill effects of smoking weed/pot/marijuana/bit o’ the bumble while pregnant because I just had to know, plus, the question was harshing my buzz (just kidding).

Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is rapidly absorbed from the lungs into the bloodstream and is metabolized primarily by the liver. It does cross the placenta.

Although marijuana is not an established human teratogen, recent studies suggest it may contribute slightly to sleep disturbances, impaired visual problem solving and hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive behaviour. So kids that are a little batshit.

On the flip side, a study was conducted in Jamaica, where the women who used the large doses of marijuana were better educated and more independent than women who consumed the small doses of marijuana. The one-month old infants of the heavy marijuana-using mothers had better scores on autonomic stability, quality of alertness, irritability, and self-regulation. It’s suggested that these differences related to the characteristics of the mothers using marijuana rather than the marijuana itself.

I found it interesting that when there are ill effects, it is attributed to the drug but when there are positive effects, it’s attributed to other factors in the study but I digress.

As mentioned above, isolating the effect of cannabis from other factors (e.g., social and economical factors, nutrition, and the use of other drugs) is difficult so it’s unlikely there will be much more information until someone can legally make a lot of money off cannabis like a pharmaceutical company (or the Keebler Elves).

In short, none of the studies show any significantly difference in spontaneous abortion, birth weight, malformation or postnatal mortality but I’m not sure how reassuring that is.

On a side note, I found an interesting study that was done on pregnant rats where the offspring of the rats that were administered high doses of THC in sesame oil had impaired nipple attachment. Then they figured out that it may be because they didn’t give those rats enough food or water. Er, okay. Why do I feel like those guys just smoked half the study then forgot to feed the rats? “Dude, when was the last time those pregnant rats had water? You know what would be cool, is if we could train the rats to do our thesis. Write that down, man. Are there any chips left? Awesome.”

search: marijuana pregnancy, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol pregnancy

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18 Comments

  • I called the motherisk hotline to ask about this when i was pregnant, not because i wanted to smoke it, but because we had to stay with in-laws that refused to stop when we were there. They said that there haven’t been any studies to indicate that the marijuana itself is harmful to mother or fetus, but that the chemicals produced from combustion are, she suggested having them use a vaporizer or consuming it orally instead. lol, so i guess if any preggo mamas feel the need to blaze, make canabutter or get a vaporizer.

  • I would be incredibly uncomfortable using any kind of drugs while pregnant. I’ve generally avoided pain relievers too except in a couple cases where lack of sleep was causing me to be less alert behind the wheel. It’s absolutely foolish for any person to rely on anecdotal stories of women who say they smoked a ton while pregnant and now have healthy children who are working on a cure for cancer and appear totally impervious to disease. It’s a balancing act between your health needs and the possible medical risk of any drug to a fetus. A doctor (or a few doctors) should be considered more seriously than a pot enthusiast or even a self-described pot patient when it comes your fetus’s health.

  • I’m surprised no one is mentioning the whole smoking aspect of the ganj. I was a regular (though not heavy) user before getting pregnant, and have stopped mainly because SMOKING would be harmful to me and my baby. I do not think smoking weed is as harmful as cigarettes (but really, only if you know what kind of chemicals it is or is not grown with), but putting any kind of smoke in your body is not healthy. If I had nausea I might reconsider, or look into edibles. For me, it is less about the inconclusive studies, and more about the unregulated market and the conclusive evidence that exists about smoking in general.

  • This post is all over the place. I have extreme, unexplained nausea, and I went for preconception counseling at an at risk OB. One of the meds I take about once a month (to every other month) is Marinol. For those of you who don’t know, Marinol is THC9 in a pill form. It is technically a class C med. When I discussed this with my Dr, she said it was okay to take if I needed it, but just don’t smoke cannabis. They sometimes prescribe the med to AIDS Patients who are pregnant, but cannot keep food down.

  • I talked to Motherisk because my in-laws are extremely heavy pot smokers, and I was concerned about second hand exposure. They said there’s nothing in the weed (even the THC) to harm the fetus, it’s the chemicals that are produced by combustion (ie, the smoke) that are harmful. So, you could make a nice batch of brownies and munch out and everything would be fine, just don’t smoke the stuff. I don’t partake, but my husband has been smoking since he was conceived, and I can tell you that it is addictive, I watched him suffer through withdrawals and I wouldn’t want my baby to have to go through it.

  • So many of the posts on this site are shamefully anti-science. I am all for reducing unnecessary paranoia, but many of your comments go way beyond this, and ironically put you in the same camp as climate change deniers and people who want creationism taught in school science classes. Ugh!

  • It is very interesting to me that the folks with backgrounds in healthcare have made comments about babies having withdrawls from THC. Scientifically, there is absolutely no way to become physically addicted to THC (as it is a naturally occuring chemical in your body produced by your endocannabinod system). Futhermore, studies in the United States do not control for other high risk behaviors that are deemed acceptable in the United States- such as cigarrettes or alcohol- both of which clearly carry a higher risk to the baby. As with anyone who has taken a basic logic class, the argument of if this, then that is a complete logic fallacy. Just because you saw a child who was underweight at birth and the mother tested positive for THC, it does not clearly demonstrate that THC was the cause as their are many undetermined variables in that equation- like alcohol, cigarrettes, poor diet, etc….Cannabis has been around and openly used for thousands of years and is an accepted practice in many countries- none of which show any correlation to use and harm of the baby. In fact the FDA published a study admitting they believed cannabis use to carry about the same risk as taking a tylenol. This in and of itself is flawed, because if you take 13 tylenol it will be your last headache while it is physically impossible to overdose on cannabis. While, combustion of any sort is not the ideal form of medicating, there are many other ways to medicate using the plant. I would suggest vaporizing the flowers, using pure essential oils from the plant, edibles, or topicals. Futhermore, THC is only one of several cannabinoids found in the plants. The cannabinoid CBD is non-psychoactive, and has tremendous medical benefits including being nueroprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-cancerous (as in SELECTIVELY seeks out, targets, and eradicates tumor and cancer cells!!) Not the mention the plant is natures most complete protein and contains all essential amino acids. In addition, most people do not understand that each strain varies in its representation of cannabinoids. Cannabis strains that are more sativa dominant tend to be stimulating, increase creativity, and do not make you tired. Sativa strains, however, may cause some folks with a pre-dispostion for it to become anxious or paranoid. Indica dominant strains tend to be relaxing, increase appetite, and help with sleep. However, folks who incorrectly use these strains during the day time, may feel like indicas make them sleepy at inappropriate times or feel lazy. All cannabis strains are a hybrid-meaning they are a mix between sativa and indica. Those of you in legal states should seek out Medical Centers that preform tests on their strains. These lab reports will give you a break down of the representation of a variety of cannabinoids represented in the strain (we only touched on two- THC and CBD, but there are many others with other medical purposes such as THV and THVC), a breakdown of sativa/indica dominance, as well as test for any unwanted residuals such as molds, mites, or pesticides. A quality grow operation will yield zero on unwanted residuals. Ladies, please educate yourselves. Of course the corporate pharm industry does not want you to be able to grow medicine for free in your backyard. Of course they do not want you to be able to treat a variety of illinesses with one miracle plant- they need you coming back to them, paying their overhead. They have not successfully been able to isolate the cannabinoids (interestinly enough they dont work the same when isolated, certain cannabinoids unlock the receptors in your endocannabinoid system). They cant patent it, they cant make money off of it, it terrifies them. Do your own research, speak to your local MMC and MMJ providers. The information is out there and available. Any logical person can read the research and see that this plant has been demonized because of its miraculous potential.

    "And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more." Ezekiel 34:29

  • I am a respiratory therapist in a large hospital in Chicago, and I have cared for SEVERAL preterm babies who were born to women that tested positive for THC; Most recently, a sweet little fighter that was born at just 28 weeks last month. I am happy to see the majority of moms replying to this post have not encountered such a heart breaking situation, and I am glad that it actually helped in cases of HG. However, I whole heartedly agree with N. I could never justify smoking pot (or taking any other chemicals) while pregnant. I have seen too many babies born preterm and with respiratory complications (possibly because of mom's pot smoking) while working in the NICU. Sure, the majority of the time things turn out just fine, but I don't want my child to be one of the less fortunate.

  • I understand that some women have extreme morning sickness which is obviously a special case but please dont say there are no risks. My neice was born 5 weeks early weighing 2 lbs 11 oz. The nicu staff, and coutless dr's in VA and MA have said this is due to her mother smoking pot during pregnancy. On many other topics we say that if it's inconclusive then maybe we should stay away from it while pregnant. This shouldn't be any differant. There are studies out there that suggest pot could be linked to low birthweight, add, and a host of other problems. Like I said there are extreme cases where smoking pot may be better then losing 30+ lbs and risking the life of the baby but please look at all the information. It was hell watching my poor neice fight for a month in nicu. She is now 18 months and only weighs 16 lbs. She is a fighter but the poor thing can't recognize hunger and is just having an all around hard time.

  • This is just my two cents. I have 3 boys, and am pregnant with baby 4. My oldest is 20, and I never smoked while pregnant with him. He had a very hard time in school, ended up dropping out it was so bad, and now is sort of lost in this world, living with girlfriends for a few weeks and then moving on. He's always battled with keeping friendships, and cannot hold down any kind of job. My middle son is 12, I smoked on a regular basis while pregnant with him, sometimes daily. He is a straight A student, has been on the deans list numerous times, and is extremely popular. He is also brilliant on computers and even built his own laptop when he was 11. He is very calm and collected, and is above average responsibility wise. My youngest son is 8, and I smoked a bit with him, maybe once or twice a week. He is very smart, does very well in school and is also popular.

    There is no doubts in my mind about the effects of pot on kids. I have been smoking all along with this pregnancy, and I feel I am not doing any harm what so ever. The proof for me is in my other children.

    And as far as being tested for drugs in the hospital after delivery. My cure? Home birth! That's were I have my babies, and there's no one around to poke them for anything. Besides, while you're in the hospital, you, as the mother, have a say over what they are 'testing' your baby for. I personally would not let the baby out of my sight.

  • I know I've been commenting on a lot of these, but REALLY, you guys, I just want to spread the word about the teratogen information service. It is a free teratogen counseling service, and I promise they can help with whatever is worrying you about your pregnancy. (They also do breastfeeding teratogen counseling!) So guys. For real. If you are worried, please call. 1-800-733-4727.

  • To the person who stated that everyone else needs to "get their facts straight". Maybe you would do well to take your own advice. The entire reason that there aren't more studies like the one in Jamaica is because the researchers funding was basically pulled after the study did not produce the negative results that they were hoping for. Look it up yourself. So, does one study refute thousands? No. But, those "thousands" of studies DO NOT refute the long-term observations seen in the Jamaican study especially because the J study is one of the few like it. Also, when thalidomide was pushed to pregnant women as an anti-nausea medicine…it was MEDICAL PROVIDERS who did so. If you want to use medical recommendations as a cop-out for having a real, well researched opinion, fine. But don't come on here and try to fear monger and push new mom's into believing that it is a medical provider they should trust. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS TAKING ALL SOURCES INTO ACCOUNT. A medical degree does not mean you should follow blindly.

  • @N I think they all listed numerous reasons to risk it not the least of which was not being able to carry a child at all. I didn't smoke at all with my daughter and only once after I knew I was pregnant with my son so I am not just jumping on the bandwagon to make myself feel better. I think using something natural to carry a child to term is much preferable to losing one to miscarriage.

  • I work at a hospital that specializes in women's services and am dumbfounded by the number of women that test positive for marijuana when they deliver. I don't understand why in so many of these cases the person will stop smoking cigarettes but continue to smoke marijuana. To be completely honest, most of the babies born positive for THC are healthy and happy, however, not always! I have seen a handful of babies that DO go through withdrawal after birth (we test for all kinds of drugs so I am sure that it is the THC causing the withdrawal). In addition, it is an automatic CPS report in NY if either the mom or baby test positive for drugs or other medication without a valid prescription (CPS involvement… it's a hassle, it's embarrassing, and you're being accused of harming your child. Eek!). I don't care what a person chooses to do when they are not pregnant… I've smoked my fair share of ganja in my day, but when you're pregnant… why risk it?!?!?

  • I am the mother of a 12 year old, 3 year old and 3 month old. I didn't smoke much with the 12 year old, but I had a great pregnancy. I smoked for nausea, which lasted until month 6, with the 3 year old and smoked nightly to help me sleep with the last pregnancy. None of them have health problems. Unfortunately I don't smoke anymore, and get stressed out all the damn time with the 3 year old. I had a lot more patience and focus with the 3 year old when I was smoking.

  • I friend of mine had three miscarriages in a row from severe morning sickness. She was so sick in that she was hospitalized multiple times from dehydration, eventually losing the babies. She was prescribed some medicine that was usually administered to chemotherapy patients but it did not help. When she got pregnant after her third miscarriage a friend suggested to her to try marijuana to alleviate the morning sickness that was basically causing her miscarriages. It was a Godsend. She delivered a happy, healthy baby boy nine months later who is now three.

  • I smoked through both pregnancies with no ill effect. Both children are super bright (hubby and I met while sharing a J at a Mensa party), super creative, gifted with computers, and pretty normal overall. {gasp, normal?}
    Only drawback, other than food tastes so good, is that none of us have enough short-term memory to hold a grudge. {Bob Weir said that once,}
    For years we prevaricated, lumped the weed in with other things we would do together in the bedroom with the door closed as "adult stuff."
    Then we saw a booth at the county fair where the local med/mar doc displayed which made it easy to start a conversation about the consequences of breaking the law versus freedom of choice. They're grown up now enough to understand some of the issues, and I've got my permit, so neither child feels anxious about our use. Similarly, neither child is interested in smoking.

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