Don’t forget to keep these things in mind…
Welcoming a child into the world is a beautiful experience, and the months leading up to the little one’s arrival are filled with incredible and sometimes challenging experiences. As a pregnant woman, many factors and recommendations need to be taken into consideration, including refraining from drinking and smoking, all the way to consuming enough of the right vitamins for the well being of the baby.
For those who rely on medical marijuana for its benefits or even for a debilitating condition, considering quitting herb altogether when pregnancy presents itself can be a challenging thought, but of course a mother wants to do what’s right for her child. With that being said, if you’re expecting, you’ll want to collect as much knowledge and information as possible to make an educated decision that works for you. There are solid arguments regarding the pregnancy and marijuana topic, and in this article, we examine both sides of the coin so that you can decide whether or not medical marijuana consumption while pregnant is right for you.
If you are pregnant and want to get a medical marijuana license, here are the things you should know…
What Science is Saying About Pregnancy and Marijuana
When one becomes pregnant, obstetricians provide expecting mothers with information that helps promote the most optimum health possible for the fetus. Although many dos and don’ts are recommended, the biggest no-nos are consuming alcohol and tobacco, but as it turns out marijuana use is often also lumped together with those two substances as unsafe for the health of an unborn child.
With part of the world still maintaining its deep-seated prejudices and propaganda-based beliefs about cannabis use without there actually being a ton of studies to back up adverse claims against marijuana, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched that cannabis would be lumped together with alcohol and cigarettes for pregnant women. It’s essential, however, to turn towards science to understand a bit better how marijuana impacts the health of those who are pregnant, which is why we’re diving into the research.
Whether or not pregnant or nursing women should be allowed to consume medical marijuana has been a recent topic of hot debate, and while it is entirely understandable why the health of a mother-to-be is important, science makes valid arguments for and against the consumption of medical cannabis while pregnant or nursing.
This puts future mothers in a tough spot at times, especially those that rely on medical cannabis for serious medical conditions, such as clinical depression, epilepsy, arthritis, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, chronic stress, anxiety disorder, and insomnia just to name a few. For some, medical cannabis is the better alternative to conventional medications which are often linked with negative side effects, especially for those who fear consuming pharmaceutical medications while pregnant.
In a study produced by Dickson et al., it is stated: “Given the concern for potential adverse effects on the fetus with maternal cannabis use, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends against the use of cannabis products in women who are pregnant.”
Garry et al. go further to explain, “…clinical and pharmacokinetic data indicate that cannabis use is dangerous during breastfeeding for the child.” The University of Washington claims this is because THC (the primary active ingredient in most cannabis strains) “crosses the placental barrier and is secreted into breast milk of nursing mothers.”
All these studies make extremely valid arguments for why cannabis should not be consumed during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, but there is still much room for deeper understanding. In fact, Dr. Seth Ammerman, who is a pediatrics professor at Stanford University and a co-author of the AAP report, concluded: “…researchers have worked primarily with marijuana compounds, like THC and CBD, that people hear about most, but there are dozens more that deserve studies…”
To understand if cannabis is safe during pregnancy, unfortunately there simply is not enough evidence to answer that question. Many more studies need to be conducted for a statement of such a nature to be announced, but due to this insufficient evidence, doctors typically recommend abstaining from using weed if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Because it is a very well known fact that smoking cigarettes can significantly impact a fetus in dangerous ways, many women that opt to continue consuming cannabis while pregnant will avoid vaping or smoking the flower. Instead, the more common method of medical cannabis consumption during pregnancy is through edible or ingestible form.
What to Do if You’re Pregnant and Want to Get a Medical Marijuana License
If you’ve thoroughly researched the topic and have decided that you would like to proceed with obtaining a medical marijuana license and you are pregnant, here’s what you should do.
1. Communicate Honestly and Openly with Your Doctor
Although it may be nerve-racking to do so, have an open conversation with your trusted medical practitioner who will be caring for you throughout your pregnancy. In a report produced by Dickson et al. it is mentioned that “Pregnant women who are interested in using marijuana may refrain from seeking safety information from health care providers as a result of fear of legal repercussions and instead seek advice from cannabis retailers.”
Even if dispensary employees and budtenders can be incredibly knowledgeable about cannabis, they are not medical professionals and therefore really should not be giving medical advice. Some people do trust the advice of budtenders, and this is perfectly alright, but when an unborn child’s life could potentially be impacted, please seek out information and recommendations from a more reliable, educated source.
2. Know the Rules About Cannabis in Your State or Region
Every territory of the United States has different laws and regulations regarding cannabis, so be sure you know what your state is like. Currently, 33 states plus Washington DC permit the consumption of medical marijuana with a license or medical marijuana card.
Medical marijuana states include California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Alaska, and Hawaii. Each state has its own qualifying conditions, so be sure to read about your area’s rules and regulations presented by its Department of Health.
In addition to these 33 medical marijuana states (plus DC), there are 10 states (plus DC) that permit not only medical marijuana consumption but also recreational cannabis use for any adult over the age of 21 with a valid ID. In these areas, you will not need a medical marijuana license to purchase cannabis.
Recreational cannabis states include California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, Vermont, Maine, Michigan, and Massachusetts.
3. Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card if Your State Requires One
If you reside in one of the 33 states (plus DC) mentioned above that issue medical marijuana cards and your state doesn’t recognize cannabis as legal on a recreational level, you’ll want to apply for a medical marijuana license. Each state has a slightly different process for application, but it usually entails that a doctor completes a medical evaluation and if approved, paperwork will then need to be submitted to the Department of Health, and you’ll have to pay a fee.
Alternatives to Obtaining a Medical Marijuana License
While there still isn’t quite enough evidence for a claim to solidly be made as to whether or not cannabis impacts the children of women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, most of the evidence that does exist seems to surround the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). If you are not in a state that permits the consumption of medical cannabis and you do have the desire to consume cannabis for health purposes while pregnant, you’ll have to look for an alternative option.
As with THC, not enough research has been conducted on another marijuana cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) and how it affects pregnancy and breastfeeding. What is true, however, is that CBD from hemp legally must have less than 0.3% THC for it to be legal in all the 50 states of America, which also entails that it is non-intoxicating and would not generate the high so often tied to cannabis consumption.
CBD has been said to assist with some medical conditions, and projectcbd.org offers many reliable pages of formal studies on cannabidiol concerning a list of medical conditions and ailments. Although it is not known if CBD is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, this cannabinoid could potentially be a suitable option for those who do not feel marijuana (containing THC) would be a wise choice during their pregnancy, or for those who do not have access to cannabis due to the laws of their state.
Final Thoughts on Pregnancy and Medical Marijuana Licenses
At the end of the day, as a consenting adult, it is your choice to choose whether or not you would like to consume medical marijuana during pregnancy. Although much of the medical world does not recommend doing so, further studies must be conducted for the entire picture to be fully understood. As a parent to be, be sure to soak in as much research as possible and educate yourself on all sides of the story so that you can make the most informed decision possible for you, and ultimately your child.
We hope you found this article to be educational, and it is important to remember that the consumption of marijuana is the sole responsibility of the user and discretion should always be taken.