Cannabis, Fertility & Pregnancy

Cannabis, Fertility & Pregnancy

Although cannabis is not legal according to federal law, many states have passed legislation legalizing or decriminalizing it at the state level. It seems that some medical marijuana fecilities are promoting it to pregnant women, primarliy for morning sickness relief.

About 70% of cannabis dispensaries in Colorado in a survey recommended cannabis products for relieving morning sickness in pregnant women. Moreover, two-thirds of these recommendations were based on “personal opinion” rather than research, reported Becky Dickson, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health. And more than a third of these dispensaries stated that cannabis use was safe in pregnancy.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states that “obstetrician-gynecologists should be discouraged from prescribing or suggesting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes during pre-conception, pregnancy and lactation.”

A study of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in Colorado found a little under half of women reported marijuana use during their prior pregnancy “to help with nausea and vomiting.” In addition, they said that pregnant women may avoid discussing this issue with healthcare providers, for fear of “legal repercussions.”

Dickson and colleagues used a mystery caller approach to conduct a statewide cross-sectional study of randomly selected cannabis dispensaries in Colorado. The caller pretended to be a pregnant woman who was experiencing morning sickness at 8 weeks. Overall, 69% recommended cannabis products for “morning sickness,” with medical dispensaries having the highest frequency of recommendation (83%). There were 277 dispensaries recommending a product, with 65% basing their recommendation on “personal opinion”; 6% referenced research and 30% did not specify a basis. Interestingly, 9% started off by saying they could not recommend any products, but then did recommend a product.

Since the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women avoid marijuana use due to potential adverse effects to the developing fetus it would be prudent not to use it even when trying to conceive.

For more information on lifestyle issues when trying to conceive please see our Lifestyle & Fertility page.

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