Science Says (Again) That Pot While Pregnant Is Maybe Fine
Well, there's just no definitive answer.
In the latest expenditure of public health dollars in the quest for medical certainty, research continues to almost decide whether or not it’s safe to use pot while pregnant. The current round of studies, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, suggests there are no immediate problems at birth caused by a mother consuming weed during her pregnancy.
However, the study's authors—including Shayna Conner, an assistant professor in the division of maternal fetal medicine and ultrasound at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine—reserve the right to quibble that, well, we just don’t really know if prenatal pot's effects on a child's later brain development is bad, how bad, or in the long term not bad at all and should not be a worry to weed-forsaken mothers.
Doctors, for the most part, still stick with a very simple answer: 'Maybe not.'
The new research complied information from 31 previously unpublished studies (all of which dealt with mommies and weed) and tried to come up with a solid yes or no to the wisdom of being pregnant and using pot. But, the authors concluded, not enough long-term studies are in place or completed to answer once and for all: Can you smoke weed while you’re pregnant without messing up your kid?
Doctors, for the most part, still stick with a very simple answer: Maybe not.
According to the current research, medical science just doesn’t really know if pot babies will turn into terror teens; so of course, why risk it?
The problem is that plenty of mothers do use cannabis while pregnant—according to the study, between 2 percent and 5 percent of women surveyed admitted using marijuana while pregnant.
To make things confusing, researchers in the Obstetrics & Gynecology study say plenty of mothers lie about not using weed; therefore the research is even more inconclusive.
There are still plenty of reasons for women to be cautious about marijuana use. For one, the body of evidence on this topic is inconsistent. Different studies looked at different neonatal outcomes. And most of the studies relied at least in part on women to report their marijuana use.
When KINDLAND reported on punitive laws regarding pregnancy and pot use earlier this year, we were annoyed/shocked to find a dearth of real research on the topic of safe usage. But there’s no shortage of information about THC-positive mothers going to jail, and “the mildest conviction under the law resulting in imprisonment of one to ten years.”
Perhaps this new study, a gathering of many inconclusive studies, will encourage the medical research community to take a real look at weed and pregnancy, and even examine potential benefits to using pot while prego—such as in easing nausea and other discomfort.
Having a baby in and of itself is a risk, one that can be quantified and approached with an informed, aware perspective. Prospective mothers can only hope that one day substantial research will indicate in what ways marijuana use will increase or reduce those risks.