by Suzanna Mountain
There are many reasons for a mother-to-be to smoke marijuana, not the least of which is relief from the agony of first trimester nausea. The use of cannabis in pregnancy and labor is not just a modern practice. Seventh century documents from India and Persia cite ganja as an important medicine for treating nausea, alleviating labor pains and even preventing miscarriage! While modern studies are few and far between, those that have been conducted show marijuana to be ever- effective in treating symptoms of vomiting, nausea, and appetite loss.
One notable study is that of Dr. Melanie Dreher, Dean of Nursing at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, who ran a study in Jamaica. The study dealt with mothers who smoked daily throughout their entire pregnancy, and compared the birth weight and neurological development of the babies of the puffing mama’s, with those of mothers who refrained. Not only was no difference found in the birth weight or neurological aptitude of these babies, but these second-generation stoners made eye contact more quickly, socialized sooner and were easily engaged. Additionally they were far less prone to stress related anxiety, although we all know this could be from the positive, stress-free, environment, created by responsible, stress-free families. Finally, these “ganja babies” had an easier time organizing sleep/ wake cycles…
So what is the scientific consensus? You’d assume that for such a hot topic, with so many opinions and so many women who want to know, there would be a plethora of research, and yet the scientific community is nearly silent. Why? First of all, it is not easy to find pregnant women willing to admit that they get high for fear of legal repercussions. Women who admit to using illegal drugs risk having their children taken away, or even jail time. Not only that, there is a stigma around pregnancy and the use of medicinal and “recreational” substances. Secondly, pregnant women barely feel comfortable indulging in half a glass of wine in public, or using ibuprofen for cryin’ out loud! and all the more so, engaging in green medicine. Without concrete research readily available, mothers themselves are unsure of the risks and most are not willing to partake for the sake of science and expose their unborn child to theoretical danger.
With no indication that the use of cannabis is harmful to mama or baby, medical marijuana could be the cure so many mamas are desperate for. New studies are emerging all of the time, indicating stress hormones as one of the most powerful and steady toxins our fragile bodies are exposed to on a regular basis, all the more so for expecting mothers. If cannabis is not harmful to the fetus, and reduces stress in mama, what more can we say but “cheers”?