Doctors of Natural Medicine

Can Medical Marijuana Be Used During Pregnancy?

Is Medical Marijuana Safe During Pregnancy?

Over the past two decades, medical marijuana use has increased in expectant mothers to help control morning sickness and other pregnancy-related conditions. Much of this increased use involved non-medicinal cannabis in mothers with a previous cannabis habit. 

Cannabis is a natural product, and those who use it often swear by it’s healing properties, which may lead expectant moms to believe it safe for their unborn babies. However, high levels of THC, the active ingredient in non-medicinal marijuana that causes a ‘high’ are causing concern in the medical community. 

Yet medical marijuana often contains little to no THC, instead containing CBD, an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant ingredient that many people consider to be good for you. 

So, is medical marijuana safe for use in pregnancy? Here’s what you should know.

medical marijuana and pregnancy, should you use it?

Medical Marijuana and Pregnancy? Why use it?

Medical marijuana is often marketed to expectant mothers as a remedy for morning sickness. Studies have also found lower rates of gestational diabetes in mothers who use marijuana during pregnancy. It’s also thought that marijuana could lower the risk of preeclampsia, a potentially deadly condition that involves high blood pressure in pregnancy. 

Many women also consider marijuana beneficial for:

So is medical marijuana safe to use during pregnancy? Despite these obvious benefits, marijuana has not been declared safe during pregnancy.

A Canadian study of 5639 mothers concluded that marijuana is ‘likely unsafe’ due to premature birth rates nearly double that of mothers who did not use the drug when expecting. 

Young pregnant couple celebrating without medical marijuana

Risks of Medical Marijuana During Pregnancy

Up to now, there is no evidence that medical marijuana is safe during pregnancy; and there are several risks associated with using the drug. 

At this point, researchers are mainly reliant on animal studies, which may not translate well to human studies. One example of this is a study that found giving pregnant animals CBD had adverse effects on the reproductive system in male fetuses. While this finding may not cause issues in human subjects, there is no evidence to back that supposition. 

Another potential risk, even for mothers who are careful to use only CBD products, is contamination. CBD products have been known to contain THC, which can have detrimental effects on the brain development of the fetus. THC has also been found to increase the chances of a stillborn baby or a premature birth.

There have also been instances of CBD products and contamination with:

  • Heavy metals.
  • Pesticides.
  • Fungus and/or bacteria.

While the risks of getting a contaminated product are low, in the rare case that it happens the results could be devastating to the development of the fetus. 

Another potential issue is side effects. 

medical marijuana has not yet been deemes safe for pregnant women

Side Effects of using Medical marijuana while Pregnant

While side effects of medical marijuana are rare in adults, they can include:

  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Depression and mood disorders.
  • Both short- and long-term memory issues.
  • Schizophrenia.

Given the serious nature of potential side effects, marijuana must be considered unsafe during pregnancy until proven otherwise. 

Medical cannabis products are a safe and natural way to treat a variety of ailments. Yet when it comes to pregnancy, it’s important to take a research-based approach to using medical marijuana while pregnant. Until we have the facts, it’s best to abstain during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. 

If you are not pregnant and would like to speak with one of our doctors about your condition to see if medical marijuana can help, book an appointment with us today!


Author: J.P. Carrol