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Today there are many new forms of dosing and ingestion that make cannabis an easy and safe option for the treatment of pain, anxiety, sleep disorders and PTSD to name a few.

Medical Marijuana & Pregnancy: What You Should Know

Are you and your partner currently trying to get pregnant? That’s great news! But what you may not know is that your marijuana habits could play a negative role in your pregnancy. If you’re a frequent marijuana smoker or medicinal cannabis user, it’s best to stop your marijuana use before even trying to get pregnant. 

There aren’t many studies done to prove precisely what marijuana can do to your unborn baby seeing as research would be unethical, but health care experts still advise against smoking it or using it for medicinal purposes. This includes both THC and CBD.

What Is The Difference Between THC & CBD?

There are a couple of main differences between THC and CBD that not a lot of people know about.  

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main compound found in the marijuana plant. It’s most commonly known for giving users the “high” they seek. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the hemp plant and is known for its many therapeutic healing properties including reducing anxiety, depression, pain, and more. 

Both THC and CBD oil can be used in the form of gummies, capsules, edibles, etc. The compounds found in these strains are similar to our body’s own cannabinoid receptors that are in charge of sending messages to our brains. They play a huge role in how we feel, act and think, which is why they can positively affect how we feel pain differently or drastically improve our moods, poor sleeping patterns, and even slow tumour growth. 

So yes, there are definitely positives to smoking or ingesting marijuana, but there comes a time where it shouldn’t be used, particularly when you’re wanting to get pregnant.

Why You Should Avoid Marijuana During Pregnancy

Though there isn’t a whole lot of statistics or scientific research on this topic, health experts don’t recommend mixing marijuana and pregnancy because of that very reason. If you don’t know a lot about it, why risk it? Just because marijuana is becoming legal in many places doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe in every way. There are reasons for health care experts to believe that your baby can become affected by marijuana use (particularly THC) as early as the first trimester. There is a baby in you.

Whatever you’re taking, your baby is also taking, therefore, when you’re getting high, so is your baby. THC is also linked to increasing one’s heart rate and affecting long-term memory. Studies can suggest that daily or weekly marijuana use while pregnant can cause these symptoms in your baby and end up affecting them as they age. Between the ages of four and six, your child can begin developing behavioural issues, have trouble paying attention or concentrating, and have poor problem-solving skills. As they reach their teens, they may also be more likely to develop substance abuse issues and suffer from mental illnesses. It can also affect them physically. You run the risk of:

  • Your baby being born with a smaller head
  • Your baby being born prematurely
  • Your baby being born underweight
  • Having a stillbirth

The reason it can affect your baby is that whatever you’re smoking it crosses the placenta and enters their bloodstream. 

Secondhand Smoke Is Just As Dangerous

You’ve probably heard warnings regarding what secondhand cigarette smoke can do, but did you know secondhand marijuana smoke can do the same things?

Not only can a child get high off the marijuana fumes a lot easier than an adult, but it can also increase the risk of developing respiratory issues, impairing lung function, causing nasal and ear infections, poor long-term memory, and even sudden infant death syndrome. The level of damage will ultimately be determined by how well the room is ventilated, how often they’re exposed to it, and how close they are to the person smoking it. 

Is it wrong to partake in smoking marijuana when you have kids? No. But should you smoke it when they’re not around and wash your clothes afterwards to limit their exposure to secondhand smoke even more? Yes.

Why You Should Avoid Marijuana When Breastfeeding

As mentioned above, it’s not wrong to smoke marijuana just because you have children. But if you’re still in the breastfeeding phase, it’s best to continue to avoid smoking it. In fact, marijuana can stay in your system after six days of smoking it, so if you breastfeed within that timeframe, your baby can be negatively affected. New studies have been suggesting that even if a baby were to consume THC through breastmilk, it can still alter brain development, affect their nervous system, emotional state, and create poor long-term memory and behavioural problems.

You Increase Your Risk Of Stillbirth

Stillbirth refers to fetal death after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Stillbirths can be caused by a number of reasons and according to Statistics Canada, they occur in seven out of 1,000 births. It’s very unfortunate but there are ways to limit your risk of stillbirth.

The most common causes can include:

  • Problems with the placenta
  • Birth defects
  • Bacterial infections
  • Umbilical cord accidents
  • And growth restriction that can lead to a lack of oxygen before and during birth

Smoking marijuana while pregnant can alter your baby’s heart rate and oxygen intake.

Morning Sickness Alternatives

50% of pregnant women experience morning sickness during their first trimester and 85% experience nausea and vomiting. It’s only natural to opt for ways to deal with nausea and throwing up or feeling dizzy by certain odours, heat, or certain foods. Sometimes there’s no trigger. Every individual is different, but there are natural ways to cure morning sickness symptoms rather than relying on medical marijuana.

Though symptoms usually disappear by the second trimester, here are things you can try instead:

  • Avoid an empty stomach as this can make nausea worse. Eat smaller, more frequent meals but avoid foods that are greasy or spicy.
  • Make honey, lemon and ginger tea. This isn’t just a cure for a cold! This simple tea recipe can soothe upset tummies, just make sure you don’t add too much sugar (honey). Placing lemon under your nose can also alleviate nausea.
  • Avoid fragrances like strong perfumes, candles, or foods.

Always consult your doctor with questions relating to your baby’s health and any potential risks. It’s highly suggested not to use medical marijuana to alleviate morning sickness symptoms and just to play it safe, you should also avoid CBD oil products. Even though CBD doesn’t get you high, it still alters the way you think or feel and can enter your baby’s bloodstream.

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