As more states move to make marijuana, along with its byproducts like CBD oil, more readily available, many individuals infer that it is a safe substance. But just because some state governments have ruled in favor of making cannabis available for medical or even recreational use does not mean it’s risk free – for anyone and especially youth and pregnant women.
Yet pregnant women are increasingly turning to forms of cannabis for relief from severe morning sickness symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Yet, studies have shown that cannabis use during pregnancy can come with serious risks.
When used regularly, cannabis use may cause a variety of harmful long-term effects for the mother herself, including a decline in IQ, increased heart rate, and breathing problems.
As with numerous other drugs – even prescription and over-the-counter medications – the problem is that cannabis does not remain in the mother’s bloodstream alone, but instead crosses through the placenta to her baby. And the repercussions of cannabis use for baby are potentially even more significant:
- Inhibited growth and low birth weight
- Increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth
- Premature birth
- Lifelong brain development problems or disorders
Better Safe Than Sorry
With its longer history of study, the risks of marijuana use are well documented – not so with CBD oil, which currently is being heavily marketed as a cure-all on the internet. Misunderstood to be “natural,” CBD oil contains chemicals and substances that may cause harm to the fetus, even though it does not produce a “high” for the user. Because of this and the lack of safety data available, the FDA issued a statement advising against the use of any forms of cannabis during pregnancy – as did the Office of the Surgeon General.
And because chemicals found in marijuana can also make their way into a mother’s breast milk – and stay there for several days – physicians advise against cannabis use while breastfeeding.
Listen to Your Doctor
It’s important to discuss all marijuana use, both medical and recreational use, with both your primary care physician and your OB/GYN.
If you are pregnant and need relief from morning sickness, schedule an appointment with a Kelsey-Seybold OB/GYN today. We can help you feel better – safely.
Dr. Karram is an OB/GYN specialist at Kelsey-Seybold’s Pasadena Clinic and Clear Lake Clinic. Her clinical interests include maternal mental health, general obstetrics, minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, and management of abnormal Pap tests.