A number of studies discussing cannabis consumption during pregnancy were published this past summer. Generally speaking, they only looked at the number of women using cannabis to relieve pregnancy symptoms. They did not examine the safety issue. So, unfortunately, an important question remains unanswered: how should a pregnant woman approach Medical Cannabis use?
Medical Cannabis is recommended by medical providers to treat a specific condition. Here in Utah, it might be anything from chronic pain to PTSD and cancer symptoms. A pregnant woman diagnosed with a qualifying condition might still choose to use Medical Cannabis. But should she?
There is no black-and-white answer to that question. Like every other medication, pregnant women are advised to use caution with Medical Cannabis. Caution is always the best approach when the goal is to do right by the baby in the womb.
A chief concern of using Medical Cannabis during pregnancy is the potential for low birth weight. It is a legitimate concern, though we don’t have enough concrete data to make a determination at this point.
The Cannigma website has a very thorough article on this topic. It is a good read and one we highly recommend. Without getting into all its details here, the article cites numerous studies suggesting that cannabis consumption during pregnancy can result in lower birth weight and shorter gestation.
One of the mentioned studies compared pregnant women who did not use cannabis at all with those who reported cannabis use at 15 weeks. The former group, on average, gave birth to babies with higher weights. Their gestation times also tended to be longer.
Having said that, the cannabis-consuming group still gave birth to babies whose weight, on average, was within the acceptable range for healthy babies, albeit slightly lower. Likewise for gestation periods. They were shorter, on average, but still within the acceptable range for safety.
As we say frequently here at Utahmarijuana.org, there is still a lot more research to be done into the possible impacts of Medical Cannabis on babies in the womb. Here is what we already know:
It would be unwise for us to assume that Medical Cannabis is completely harmless to babies in the womb without scientific evidence to prove it. Assumptions are never a good thing in medicine. It is best to wait on the science and see what it produces.
In the meantime, pregnant women should not be afraid to discuss Medical Cannabis with their doctors. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, ask as many questions as you have. Combine the answers you get with your own research.
We also want to encourage you to work with your medical provider to ensure both a safe pregnancy and your own health and well-being. If you are dealing with a condition on Utah’s Medical Cannabis qualifying conditions list, you have more than just your pregnancy to worry about.
You and your provider might determine that Medical Cannabis is an appropriate treatment. On the other hand, you might decide that it’s best to look for an alternative. You and your provider ultimately need to reach a decision together.
The lesson here is to approach Medical Cannabis with caution. We have some inkling of how it might affect the baby in the womb, but we still don’t know for sure. Erring on the side of caution isn’t a bad way to go.