Is cannabis use during pregnancy on the rise?

Published Feb 15, 2019 01:53 p.m. ET

University of British Colombia researchers have released a recent study claiming that one-third of pregnant women believe it is safe for them and their fetus to ingest cannabis during pregnancy.

A study in preventive medicine for women found that some women considered cannabis safe and that their health-provider had not given them any indication otherwise.

Their perception of cannabis use was studied at the University of B.C., not the actual risk. 70% of cannabis users whether pregnant or not felt that there was slight or no harm to be had from the consumption of cannabis.

The researchers found that under 25, unemployed, African American and single women were more likely to use cannabis while pregnant. Depression and anxiety that can accompany pregnancy were also cited as a reason for cannabis use. The most common use reported for using cannabis was to help in the control of morning sickness.

A warning ahead of October 17, 2018, the date for legalization across Canada for pregnant women was emphasized by obstetricians and gynecologists in Canada. The warning was loud, “pregnant women, do not smoke.” One of the main ingredients in cannabis, THC is a psychoactive compound. The compound can cross the placenta and go into the fetal tissue. THC can also accumulate in the breast milk. The method does not matter, whether smoking eating edibles or vaping the result is the same.

Here are some of the potential effects on pregnancy and cannabis use:

• Labor that is pre-term
• Lower IQ scores
• Low birth weight
• Hyperactivity and impulsiveness in childhood

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada strongly recommends that women do not start or should cease the use of marijuana when pregnant. The recommendation goes further to include no smoking during trying to conceive, during the actual pregnancy and post-pregnancy when breastfeeding.

Perhaps it is better to be safe than sorry when the issue of marijuana and pregnancy are discussed. The benefits of CBD oil have not yet been researched enough to confidently say whether it is safe for both the mother and the fetus to ingest CBD oil.

The psychoactive effects are not present with legal regulated CBD oil as in other cannabis products, but to date, more research is needed.

If pregnancy is in your future and you choose to use cannabis in your pregnancy take mind of the following:

• Avoid smoking try to vaporize or use non-smokable products, edibles or lotions
• Know your supplier to be sure of the content in infused edibles
• Look for organic herb, make sure that it is clear from pesticides and chemicals
• Evaluate why you are using it during your pregnancy and ask yourself if the benefits out-way the negative possibilities.

Always discuss with your health-provider any changes in your health, and whether you are going to be incorporating cannabis into your daily regime. Pregnancy is a 9 month commitment at the least, so to give your baby a healthy start in life perhaps abstaining during that time is a responsible action to take.

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