There’s nothing more controversial than a pregnant woman consuming a little cannabis. Medical professionals and the general public are quick to turn down their noses on the topic. Yet, the implications of prenatal cannabis use may surprise you. To help you avoid countless hours on Google, we’ve created a whole Marijuana & Pregnancy series to give you easy access to valuable information. This ultimate guide to how cannabis affects pregnancy summarizes each of the articles and tells you where to find more information.
1. An ancient history of cannabis and pregnancy
Women have been using cannabis to aid in pregnancy for millennia. No joke, Egyptian medical texts from 1534 BCE give recipes for hemp preparations used to ease contractions. Ground hemp was mixed with honey and inserted in the vagina. Archeological evidence suggests that cannabis was used as a medicinal vapor to ease difficult childbirth.
Much of the history about how our ancestors used these plants has been lost. However, women still have a unique relationship with the plant. Cannabis still remains the most popular illicit substance used by pregnant western women.
When faced with pain, nausea, fatigue, and mood swings, a lot of ladies out there are looking for something to ease the physical toll of pregnancy. It looks like our modern inclination for cannabis may actually be a relic of the ancient past.
For a more detailed examination of the ancient uses of cannabis during pregnancy, check out this article here.
2. Does Marijuana have an impact on fertility
Concerned about fertility? The HERB article Marijuana and Pregnancy #2 dives into the complex world of cannabis and hormones. If you’re having trouble conceiving, the herb may not be helping much. Yet, there are lots of reasons why people experience infertility issues, and it is unlikely that there is one single cause in each case. A combination of factors is more likely to contribute.
Long story short, In men, there is a lot of back and forth about whether or not cannabis causes low sperm counts. In women, the impact of cannabis on fertility seems to depend on how much you use the herb.Surprisingly, those who only use cannabis sporadically are more likely to have fertility troubles. Though, the studies that looked into this claim tested monkeys, not humans.
One study, for example, showed that monkeys stopped ovulating after they were given a dose of THC. However, after about 3-4 months of continuous dosing, ovulation spontaneously began again. Once the body becomes accustomed to cannabis, it seems, reproductive function adapts.
3. What happens inside the womb
Marijuana and Pregnancy #3 dives into the current debates on the effects of prenatal cannabis use. As far as medical research goes, doctors have a few main concerns about prenatal cannabis use. The biggest arguments against using the herb while pregnant include:
- Increased risk of impulsivity and inattention
- Unknown implications on fetal brain development
- Growth issues (low birth weight, small babies, etc.)
One 2014 study, looked at pregnant mice and their offspring and attempted to figure out how THC affects a growing brain. The research suggested that the psychoactive changed the way different neurons connect and communicate with each other. However, the implications of these potential changes are not known.
If these brain changes happen in humans, what impact do they have on quality of life? Do these changes happen every time, or only in some patients? The full article contains a larger discussion of these issues.
4. Does cannabis increase the risk of premature birth?
Our Marijuana and Pregnancy #4 piece looks into claims that the herb is linked to preterm delivery. So far, the evidence surrounding cannabis and preterm birth has been inconclusive. But, things are a bit complicated.
In 2012, a research team from Austrailia and New Zealand found that parents who used cannabis pre-pregnancy had a greater likelihood of preterm delivery. However, different research has been unable to find a firm correlation.
Back in the 1980s, a large study looked at over 12,500 expecting mothers. The study did find that a few more cannabis consuming mothers did deliver preterm when compared to non-consuming counterparts. The numbers, however, were not statistically significant. This means that no firm conclusion can be drawn.
5. Does cannabis increase the risk of SIDS?
Cannabis and SIDS is another topic of hot debate, and we’ve gone over the research in Marijuana and Pregnancy #5. Few studies have looked at cannabis and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But, the most cited study is a small one and the results are a little odd.
There was a positive correlation with a father’s preconception cannabis use and SIDS. There was no correlation between a monther’s preconception or prenatal use. So, larger studies are sorely needed to figure out whether or not this connection is viable.
When it comes to SIDS, exposure to secondhand smoke is one of the biggest concerns. If have chosen to use cannabis after giving birth, it’s best to take it outside or switch to a different consumption method. Of course, taking precautions like eating a healthy, nutritious diet while breastfeeding and making sure that your baby is in the proper sleeping position will counteract risks of this devastating syndrome.