The journal Obstetrics & Gynecology released a study yesterday in which 400 Colorado cannabis dispensaries were contacted by telephone by a caller posing as a woman looking to alleviate pregnancy-related nausea and anxiety.
Roughly 2/3s of the dispensary employees who went on to recommend cannabis use to the caller did so based off of “personal opinion”, and about a 1/3rd of them specifically said that cannabis use is safe during pregnancy. Of the 400 contacts, 32% of the Colorado cannabis industry employees took the initiative to recommend that the caller speak to an actual healthcare provider before making a final decision.
The stats skewed further when broken down between medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational outlets, with MMJ shops advising cannabis use during pregnancy 83% of the time, and rec shops doing so roughly 60% of the time.
With cannabis use becoming more mainstream – particularly its medicinal use – more and more pregnant women are seeking guidance on whether or not it will be safe for them and for their unborn child. They could be contacting dispensaries like those singled out in Colorado for medical advice assuming that the employee who answers the phone A. Knows what they are talking about and B. Is actually representing the policy or protocol of their employer.
1 in 25 American women report using cannabis during pregnancy, so, the real question is: Is it safe to use cannabis as a part of your pregnancy regimen?
Honestly, even in mid-2018 the science is severely lacking, and is based mostly off of anecdotal and observational reporting.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control & Prevention have an entire webpage dedicated to the topic, and it contradicts itself in the first two paragraphs.
It starts with this bit of info (emphasis ours):
“As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, some pregnant women have turned to using marijuana to ease nausea or other pregnancy symptoms. However, researchers don’t know a lot about what the effects might be and while the research is in progress, most experts advise pregnant women not to use marijuana.
Ok, pretty vanilla. Now paragraph two:
“Many of the chemicals in marijuana (in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) can pass through a mother’s system to her baby and can negatively affect a baby’s health. Research shows that using marijuana while pregnant can cause health problems in newborns—including low birth weight. Using marijuana during pregnancy may also increase a baby’s risk of developmental problems.”
Wait…didn’t they just get done admitting they don’t know shit about the effects?
They offer a “case study” that is fabricated out of thin air in which “Samantha goes to see her doctor who tells her that there’s very little research to support marijuana being safe, and the research that has been done suggests mothers who use marijuana while pregnant can put their babies at increased risk for health problems—including low birth weight and developmental problems. Their children may also have attention and learning problems or trouble doing well in school as they get older.”
Isn’t it just as accurate to state that, “Samantha goes to see her doctor who tells her that there’s very little research to support marijuana being unsafe…”?
The CDC then goes on to recommend trying chicken soup instead of cannabis. Seriously.
The problem is that it is considered unethical to introduce THC to a pregnant woman for the sole purpose of examining the results.
The FDA had no ethical problem testing and approving prescription pregnancy nausea pills like Diclegis, whose side effects include: restlessness, dry mouth, the pupils of your eyes become larger (dilated), sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, fast heart rate, seizures, muscle pain or weakness, and sudden and severe kidney problems, or even death.
“Marijuana in pregnancy is … not as black and white as something like alcohol,” says Dr. Katrina Mark, a practicing OB-GYN and an assistant professor in the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.
Still, however, she warns that just because a cannabis dispensary is licensed as a “medical” outlet does not mean that the employees within are any sort of medical experts.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also warns against cannabis use by pregnant women, but they too base that recommendation off of their own admitted ignorance, stating “there are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding.”
In the dispensary survey study, many employees specifically encouraged the caller to avoid discussing cannabis with their doctor, and that worries Dr. Mark more than anything else.
She’s right, there are many variables in every pregnancy and an open dialogue between an expecting mother and their doctor is vitally important.
Really both sides are to blame in this scenario.
Those who work in the cannabis industry, and those in the cannabis community, would do well to just stick to the facts when it comes to pot and pregnancy, and the fact is, we just do not know what if any negative impact it can have, and any woman who plans to use it needs to be aware of that uncertainty.
Our government has an obligation to we the people. So let’s continue to hold these politicians accountable and work to legalize the plant on the federal level so we can get the proper studies done and be able to offer more natural cannabis-based remedies for all types of discomfort and ailment.