Marijuana in Pregnancy: BREAKING NEWS.by Elizabeth MacDonald
Marijuana, pot, cannabis, weed, or the 50 street names it is known by, is currently in the spotlight. A growing number of states have legalized marijuana, with more to soon follow, for medicinal or recreational purposes, and its use by pregnant women will increase as a result. New research was just released confirming what so many mothers already assumed:
POT DOES NOT CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS.
You read that right. Live Science just published updated research a few days ago. I am completely blown away. I am a straight-laced, follow the rules kind of person most of the time. I have yet to ever even try pot, and of course I assumed it was a train wreck waiting to happen if consumed while pregnant. Apparently, I was misled. With the current trend of legalizing the natural grown product, we are witnessing a plethora of ‘weed-laced’ items hitting shelves. I’ve read about cannabis tampons to ease menstrual side effects, pot infused soaps, bath salts, and other spa treatments.
All of this means that women are enjoying the benefits of marijuana. While researchers state that this new information does not “imply that marijuana use during pregnancy should be encouraged or condoned,” it does mean that the fear mongering should end. For decades, the fight for marijuana use has existed, but nay-sayers shunned and belittled activists. Doctors headed the lines, saying that the drug should be avoided at all cost. It has long been believed that cannabis use during pregnancy could cause birth defects, preterm births, and low birth weight in infants. I started digging to see what other information I could find on the subject.
In 1991, a 5-year follow-up study showed no significant differences in developmental testing outcomes between children of marijuana-using and non-using mothers. It actually discovered an unexpected exception: at 30 days after birth, the babies of marijuana users had more favorable scores on two clusters of the Brazelton Scales: autonomic stability and reflexes. While surprising, this evidence didn’t matter at all by age 4.
The developmental scores at ages 4 and 5 years were linked to aspects of the home environment and to regularity of basic education. A 1994 study revealed no effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on growth at any time during the first 6 years of life. There were also no significant relationships between prenatal exposure to marijuana and the rate of morphologic anomalies. (This study followed 668 children for 6 years.) A 1997 study followed suit, explaining that there was inadequate evidence that cannabis, at the amount typically consumed by pregnant women, causes low birth weight. The research continues with a 2002 study of 12,000 mothers in Britain.
The results suggested that the use of cannabis during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk of perinatal mortality or morbidity. Actually the more research that I read through, the more obvious it all became. Pot has never been the problem; tobacco is to blame. I am not saying that I support marijuana in any way. I am just presenting, you see, every single study performed that linked cannabis to preterm birth or low birth weight included smoking tobacco products as well. Most included high consumption of alcohol, tobacco use, and marijuana without differentiation. You would think those studies could be overlooked by now, seeing as how flawed they all are. I’m pretty sure that the first rule in performing research like this is to isolate the item being studied – to have a control group and a second group with nothing different except the item being studied. My time performing science research in graduate school taught me that much, as did my 4th grade teacher as she covered the scientific method.
In 2006, a study confirmed that cannabis use to aide extreme morning sickness was safe and effective when used therapeutically. There were no long-term side effects found. Basically, everyone can relax about the usage of marijuana in general, and while pregnant. Just like everything, abuse can occur, and problems can arise. I won't be inhaling (or eating - or in any other way consuming) marijuana pregnant or not, but I also won't pass judgement to those who do.