Is it safe to smoke marijuana during pregnancy?
Marijuana use in pregnancy can harm the baby. That is why all major medical organization such as ACOG and the CDC recommend that you do not use marijuana when trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy. All women who are trying to conceive and those who are pregnant should be encouraged to stop smoking marijuana as soon as possible.
The drug contained in marijuana is called 'THC,' and it crosses the placenta. That means every time a pregnant woman smokes marijuana, her fetus also gets this drug. Unfortunately, many pregnant mothers smoke marijuana because it seems that it has not been shown to cause any predictable pattern of abnormal fetal effects. This is not true. Babies born to mothers who smoke marijuana during pregnancy have several problems including a lower birth weight and leukemia. Anytime smoke is forced into the alveoli of the lungs, it is competing for oxygen which should be getting to the baby. In addition, because marijuana is not under government quality controls, any number of chemicals could be contaminating it, and this could be potentially harmful to the baby.
Is using medical marijuana during pregnancy safe?
While medical marijuana has become legal in some US states, it is not regulated nor evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. During pregnancy and lactation there are no approved indications, contraindications, safety precautions, or recommendations nor are there any "safe" formulations, dosages, or delivery systems. Doctors should be discouraged from prescribing or suggesting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. There are still no good studies yet on the impact of marijuana on pregnancy or lactation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that:
- As part of routine anticipatory guidance and in addition to contraception counseling, it is important to advise all adolescents and young women that if they become pregnant, marijuana should not be used during pregnancy."
Pregnant women who are using marijuana or other cannabinoid-containing products to treat a medical condition or to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy should be counseled about the lack of safety data and the possible adverse effects of THC in these products on the developing fetus and referred to their health care provider for alternative treatments that have better pregnancy-specific safety data.
Women of reproductive age who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and are identified through universal screening as using marijuana should be counseled and, as clinically indicated, receive a brief intervention and be referred to treatment.
Although marijuana is legal in some states, pregnant women who use marijuana can be subject to child welfare investigations if they have a positive marijuana screen result. Health care providers should emphasize that the purpose of screening is to allow treatment of the woman’s substance use, not to punish or prosecute her.
Therefore, pregnant women or women contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy for which there are better pregnancy-specific safety data.
- Marijuana may negatively affect fetal neurologic development
- Marijuana's effects on the fetal brain
- Marijuana use increases preterm births
- Marijuana is not safe during pregnancy
- Negative effects of marijuana on fetal development
- ACOG: Pregnant and TTC women should discontinue marijuana before and during pregnancy
Smoking and Pregnancy