06 Sep Marijuana Use Before and During Pregnancy
The increasing, state-recognized legalization of marijuana – medicinally and recreationally – does NOT mean that marijuana is healthy. The de-regulation of marijuana is an indicator of a cultural shift, but it is an alarming shift for those of us who work as physicians and healthcare providers.
There are risks to both smoking and ingesting marijuana and CBD oil – especially before and during pregnancy.
5 Reasons to Avoid Marijuana & CBD Oil When TTC, Pregnant, or Breastfeeding
Here are five, clear reasons why we recommend both men and women avoid marijuana use – or the use of CBD oil – while trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.
1. The Surgeon General warns against it
The surgeon general doesn’t send out an alarm about products, medications, or lifestyle choices unless s/he has research-based evidence to back it up. The NYT headlines read, Surgeon General Warns Pregnant Women and Teenagers Not to Smoke or Vape Marijuana.
It’s of particular concern with pregnant women because many cannabis vendors, suppliers, and retail outlets recommend marijuana as a safe alternative to prescription-based medications for morning sickness. Research proves otherwise (more on that below).
Among other concerns, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, “…described modern marijuana as far more potent than marijuana produced and sold 20 years ago, with levels of THC increasing to a range of 12 percent to 25 percent from 4 percent back then.” This poses a problem since these THC levels transfer to the baby in utero, and are also shared with the baby via breastmilk.
2. Marijuana use is linked to developmental and behavioral issues
Those increased levels of THC referenced by Dr. Adams raise other concerns as well. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, and it’s the substance causing the mind-altered state most cannabis users are aiming for.
Unfortunately, THC crosses the placenta, and that means it affects your baby’s brain as well. This is extremely risky. THC compromises our brain’s organizational and executive function – and while it may be fun recreationally as an adult, it’s linked to higher rates of behavioral and developmental problems in children whose mothers smoked or consumed marijuana while pregnant.
3. You elevate your chances of having a premature baby, or a baby with low birth weight
Every baby deserves the chance to develop in a safe, nourishing womb – and to be born full-term, with a healthy birth weight. The latest research shows that babies born to mothers who used cannabis while pregnant are more likely to be born prematurely, and are more likely to have lower birth weights.
4. It compromises sperm count, their shape, and their ability to move
Healthy lifestyle choices are a foundational step for any individual or couples trying to conceive. In the case of healthy male fertility, and high-quality sperm, this includes giving up marijuana. Both smoking pot and vaping, along with ingesting CBD oil in other forms, are all linked to lower sperm counts and diminished sperm quality.
Read, Tips for Optimizing Male Fertility, for more information on the dos and don’ts of cultivating healthier sperm – and male libido (yes, marijuana is also linked to lower sex drive in men…)
5. Marijuana is not safe to use for morning sickness
Morning sickness is a major discomfort and it’s no wonder women are looking for natural, safe, morning sickness relief. That being said – marijuana is not the answer. We completely understand why women are wary of taking prescription medications for morning sickness, since several of them have wound up being linked to birth defects or other health risks for mother and baby over the years.
However, the same is true for smoking marijuana or vaping/ingesting CBD oil. Research shows the permanent, long-term risks aren’t worth the short-term benefits of nausea relief.
If you’re trying to conceive or have just found out you’re pregnant, we advise avoiding marijuana and its related products to eliminate any potential for irreversible, permanent health risks to you or your baby. Feel free to contact us here at Fertility Center of Dallas to learn more.