The list of things that woman who are pregnant or nursing shouldn’t eat, drink, or do can seem endless, and it’s normally been pretty safe to assume that marijuana use during pregnancy is on that list. After all, it seems to be grouped in with tobacco and alcohol, both of which should definitely be avoided. Colorado and Washington, two states where recreational marijuana is legal, already warn users that pot shouldn’t be used by pregnant or nursing women. A proposed bill in Colorado, where recreational pot already has to carry warning labels for pregnant or nursing women, could mean that pot shops have to post signs warning that pot can pose risks to unborn children.

Why Women Might use Pot during Pregnancy or While Nursing

There are a number of reasons a pregnant or nursing woman might choose to smoke marijuana, such as:

  • To ease nausea from morning sickness. While most pregnant women experience some morning sickness, in some cases it can be unbearable or life-threatening. Medical marijuana is a common remedy for nausea, and the practice of smoking marijuana to help with pregnancy is common in Jamaica.
  • To aid with depression. While the jury’s still out on whether marijuana can be an effective treatment for depression, many doctors do believe that it can be. At the end of the day, if it works for you, it works for you. Post and pre-natal depression are huge issues, and effective treatment is vital.
  • To help with pain or anxiety. It’s well known that marijuana is a great method of treating pain or anxiety, and there’s not much out there that’s more painful or anxiety-inducing than having a baby.

What the Science Says

There are a very limited number of studies on the effects of smoking pot during pregnancy. It’s unclear on whether marijuana use during pregnancy can cause low birth weight, deformities, or miscarriage; although there is some evidence that it may lead to attention problems, a low IQ or learning difficulties.  Doctors have concluded that there is no real safe amount of marijuana during pregnancy, and it’s best to avoid it.

Doctors urge nursing mothers to avoid marijuana, as it can diminish motor and brain development. Once again, there isn’t a whole lot of conclusive research on the effects of using pot while nursing, but it’s best to avoid it.

What Does This Mean for Pregnant Pot Users?

Like most things fun, it’s probably best to avoid smoking pot while pregnant or nursing. According to doctors, during pregnancy, pot should only be used as a lesser-of-two-evils. If it is absolutely essential, if the mother’s morning sickness is seriously threatening the health of her and her baby, or the pain, anxiety or depression are unbearable, then by all means, she should do whatever she can for her own health and the health of her baby, but doctors urge pregnant or nursing women to see a health professional and seek out other options.