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These days, hearing about "marijuana moms" isn't that uncommon. In fact, a lot of expecting mothers are fairly open about using weed during the first, second, and even third trimesters as a way to combat morning sickness and stress.
Most pothead moms choose to eat cannabis during their times as moms-to-be. However, some are actually lighting up—and it's getting doctors a bit concerned about the baby's wellbeing.
There are a lot of reasons to believe that marijuana will not be harmful to a baby, though smoke definitely can be. Today, we're going to ask the question that's on every new mom's mind: can you smoke weed while you're pregnant?
To understand if you can smoke weed while you're pregnant, you need to understand the way chemicals affect your body.
There's a certain saying in toxicology that everyone needs to understand: "The dose makes the toxin." In other words, what may be beneficial in one amount might be harmful in another. How harmful a "bad" chemical will be will also be based on how much you're exposed to it.
On a similar note, how you're exposed to the chemical in question will also play a huge part in how it affects you. Smoking will be different than ingesting edibles. This means that figuring out whether you should smoke weed while you're pregnant might be a little less about the effects of marijuana than it is about the way you're using it.
To begin, let's talk about the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy.
There's some good news and some bad news here.
The good news is that there seems to be a general consensus that marijuana doesn't seem to have birth defects linked to it. Women who used marijuana while pregnant claim to have an easier time dealing with nausea and other similar issues.
The bad news is that there have been very few studies on the matter and many of them were conflicting. Some, such as one done in Jamaica by Dr. Melanie Dreher, claimed that exposure to marijuana can actually improve cognitive function in kids.
Others, such as a study done in 2015, suggests that marijuana use could harm a fetus' cognitive ability. However, it's noted that kids seemed to "balance out" as they grew up.
Can you smoke weed while you're pregnant? If you go by the studies, yes—but it may mean that your child might be at a small risk of minor developmental issues depending on how much you can take.
Though no birth defects have been linked to cannabis use, some studies have noticed issues with birth weight.
More specifically, if you smoke weed while you're pregnant, you're more likely to have a child who has a lower birth weight. One 2012 study also noted that mothers who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to have a child that was admitted to the NICU.
That being said, a single study is not enough to determine whether marijuana is dangerous to a fetus. Correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation all the time.
There are issues with a lot of the studies being performed on moms who smoke pot.
The problem with these studies is that they were probably not isolated with only cannabis use. Since a lot of hard drug users also smoke weed, it's impossible to say whether the low birth weight and other issues came from marijuana—or if they came from something harder, like cocaine.
Overall, most doctors will not treat cannabis and tobacco in the same way. They typically see tobacco as a bigger threat to a fetus than they do cannabis.
One thing that expecting mothers should watch out for is their blood pressure.
One of the well-known effects of cannabis is a mild increase in blood pressure. For the most part, this won't play a large factor in whether you should smoke weed while you're pregnant.
If you have been diagnosed with preeclampsia or blood pressure issues, this can be very risky. In fact, if you have been dealing with doctors' visits as a result of your blood pressure during pregnancy, you need to wait until after you give birth to do anything pot-related.
Overall, though, tests have been generally conflicting and inconclusive about marijuana use.
Since there's a lot of conflict about how these studies are done, it's really hard to tell what to expect when you're smoking while pregnant. The differences between most kids' healths in these studies have been very minor, almost to the point of insignificant.
What I'm saying is that you probably don't have too much to worry about as long as you're not using other drugs and you're generally healthy.
However, that doesn't mean you can smoke weed while you're pregnant.
Here's the thing that makes smoking weed dangerous to you as a pregnant woman: it's still illegal on a federal level. It's considered, by law, to be an illicit drug. If a doctor finds out that you're smoking weed while expecting, they have the right to call CPS on you.
Many states have passed laws that punish pregnant women if drugs are found in the baby's meconium. You could have your newborn taken from you, or in certain cases, could be put on a child abuse registry and put in jail.
A bigger issue than the marijuana ingestion itself is the smoke.
When you smoke, you're also inhaling carcinogenic substances from burnt blunts and actual smoke. It's not just all ganja and THC, you know. Studies have shown that being exposed to smoke of any kind can potentially harm a fetus.
A lot of children who were born with asthma or breathing problems very likely got their issues because of the smoke they were exposed to while in utero. While some experts will tell you that you can smoke weed while you're pregnant, it might be a better option to stick to edibles.
In small doses, a little bit of cannabis could prove to be good for expecting moms—assuming they're in good health.
One of the main reasons why there are so many moms for marijuana is because there are some legitimate reasons why cannabis consumption could be good during pregnancy. Cannabis is a natural nausea reducer, and also has the added perk of helping expecting moms relax.
In small doses, some cannabis could be good. It could even make you a better mom. But, it's obvious that there are risks involved.
The final verdict is one that you might not like to hear.
At the very least, you can smoke weed while you're pregnant. However, it's something that you should approach with extreme caution. While smoking cannabis could be beneficial, the truth is that the stigma and the potential of subtle risks means that it's territory that you should tread carefully on.