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Would you smoke weed when pregnant?
This is a taboo subject, and whilst I like the idea of breaking taboos, I am certainly writing this from an objective, critical perspective. You see, I’ve read a few things recently about pregnant women who are smoking marijuana to beat morning sickness and I wanted to explore this issue further. The trouble is, given the effects of marijuana on unborn babies is largely unknown, there is little empirical evidence to say just how harmful it might be. What is certain, is that just suggesting smoking marijuana when pregnant is bound to provoke strong feelings.
We all know the medicinal qualities of marijuana, and in some respects it has the potential to combat the ailments of pregnancy more effectively that prescription drugs. A recent study of (anonymous) expectant mothers has suggested it can be used to battle morning sickness. The trouble is, there has been little research on how this affects the child. One mother in the study believed that marijuana was necessary to increase her appetite and help her keep her food down.
‘I had morning sickness and I know that it’s normal for women to lose weight from it, but I just really didn’t like the idea of my baby going without nutrients, so I did smoke to help with my appetite and to make sure I wasn’t throwing up everything I ate.’
Another said, ‘I was initially against the idea of it, mainly because of the stigma surrounding smoking while pregnant. However, after three weeks of keeping almost nothing down and craving a sandwich… I smoked for the first time. Just a couple hits. I sat back, ate half a sandwich, and it didn’t come back up! I think I napped after. I smoked a few more times after that because I was still puking almost every 20 to 40 minutes during weeks four through 15 and had lost about 20 pounds. When I smoked, I could eat and nap. It helped keep food down and was better than Zofran. Honestly a life saver.’
I’ve looked at some research about this on the internet, and as you might expect, there are wildly conflicting views. A professor at Auckland University believes that "Exposure to marijuana in the absence of alcohol was associated with improved global motion perception which was significantly better than that of children who had not experienced prenatal drug exposure.”
Whereas the American Medical Association insists that ‘Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding poses potential harms,’ although those potential harms are slightly more ambiguous.
Once again, more research is needed into the medicinal properties of marijuana, free from the prejudice of taboo or social stigma, and looked at critically and objectively from a scientific viewpoint.