When it comes to getting baked while you have a bun in the oven, opinions come as varied as hybrid strains at a cannabis cup. This week the American Medical Association advocated required warnings on all medical and recreational cannabis products that would read, “Warning: Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding poses potential harms.”
But the connection between smoking marijuana and health issues for fetal and newborn life is still tenuous and unbacked by substantial scientific research. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment conducted a study on the effect of cannabis imbibed by a mom on her baby found “mixed” evidence that marijuana can lead to birth defects or low birth weight and “moderate” evidence that pot-puffing-pregnancies could result in infants who suffer from cognitive impairment, low IQ, or attention issues.
You might be tempted to say that if there is even a small chance that getting blazed will harm prenatal babes, then why not just ban smoking while pregnant altogether to eliminate the risk? But the other side of the argument is that if conclusive evidence is found that says weed doesn’t cause cognitive impairment or birth defects, then cannabis could be highly useful as a medical treatment for common pregnancy-related issues such as nausea, loss of appetite, or anxiety.
For some mothers, marijuana could be a much simpler solution to these issues than prescription medication, and cheaper too. “I suffered… ‘hyperemesis gravidarum,’ which is a fancy way to say I was throwing up so much that it was a danger to my health and the health of my baby,” an anonmyous woman told VICE. “My doctor prescribed me Zofran, but for most of my pregnancy my insurance company wouldn’t cover it, and it cost about $11 a pill. Cannabis was about $20 a gram and it let me actually eat something. The only time I ate during those months was the few times I was able to find someone to buy cannabis for me. Four months into my pregnancy, we moved to Colorado and it became a much easier process—we were literally a five-minute drive away from a dispensary.”
“I was still puking almost every 20 to 40 minutes during weeks four through 15 and had lost about 20 pounds. When I smoked, I could eat and nap,” another new mother told VICE. The fact is that until more concrete studies come out, people are going to make up their own minds based on what they feel about cannabis more than what scientific research has to say. Those that feel like weed shouldn’t be used by moms (like the judge who took away custody from a mother for drinking cannabis-infused tea while pregnant) are going to act based on that gut feeling while moms who feel like it’s no big deal (again, based on inconclusive evidence) are going to keep on toking through their third trimester.