Cannabis Consumption During Pregnancy: Are Cannabinoids Mother’s Helper And The Co-Creators of Life?
Cannabis consumption during pregnancy is controversial, but these studies indicate that cannabinoids are helping mom stay healthy during pregnancy and giving boost to social, motor, and self-regulation skills to her offspring.
What is the key element that gives us life? Is it water? Is it the Sun? Air? Something else? The truth is, we spend our lives seeking knowledge about Life: Where does it came from? How did it start on this planet? What is our purpose?
It seems the only certainty about life that can apply to all creatures and plants is this striving to reach maximum potential. This striving to stay alive.
Do Cannabinoids Help Us Reach Our Full Potential?
As humans, we have the dignity of choice. Should we choose to not reach our potential, that is our own prerogative. However, we also have the choice to use the tools that nature gives us to reach our full potential. We can drink clean water, eat healthily, exercise, expand our intelligence, and…consume cannabis to make healthy babies?
To qualify what’s to follow, the research behind cannabis as a tool for human development in the prenatal stage is quite limited for obvious reasons. Cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States, and the only studies that looked whole-heartedly at mothers using cannabis during pregnancy come from Jamaica where cannabis use is a part of their spiritual culture.
Cannabinoids Prevent Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy
Before we dive into these studies, which are controversial in the realm of social media shame mobs, let’s look at few studies on other mammals. In a 2012 study that appeared in the British Journal of Pharmacology, researchers looked at how CBDa affected ‘morning sickness’ in rats—in this case, induced vomiting.
The study showed that CBDa, the nonpsychoactive precursor of CBD, not only controls toxin-induced and motion related vomiting, it also is an effective treatment against anticipated vomiting, which has no other known treatment. The researchers concluded that CBDa has promise as a treatment for ‘morning sickness.’
Prior to that research, a 2006 study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, surveyed women who self-reported using cannabis for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. For respondents that gave indication they had used cannabis during pregnancy, 92% said that cannabis was ‘very effective’ or ‘effective’ at treating their symptoms.
While it seems that cannabis certainly helps the mothers who use it medicinally, what about their unborn children? Are there any effects on fetal development?
How Do Cannabinoids Affect Fetal Development? The Jamaica Study
There are two important studies that we should we look to in regards to fetal, and childhood, responses to cannabis use while pregnant. Social media mobs: ready your Twitter accounts and pitchforks.
The first study to consider appeared in Pediatrics in 1994. The aim of the study was to investigate prenatal cannabis exposure and neonatal outcomes in Jamaicans where cannabis use as a spiritual and medicinal tool is highly prevalent. In looking at two groups of babies, one group without exposure to cannabis and one group with exposure during fetal development. The results demonstrated no significant difference in birth weight, length, nor gestational periods.
The longitudinal study of these infants and their development yielded some unexpected results. For the children exposed to cannabis use during their fetal development, at one month of age, they were “more socially responsive and were more autonomically stable at 30 days than their matched counterparts. The quality of their alertness was higher; their motor and autonomic systems were more robust; they were less irritable; they were less likely to demonstrate any imbalance of tone; they needed less examiner facilitation to become organized; they had better self-regulation; and were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers than the neonates of non-using mothers.”
No Significant Difference in Development of Babies From Cannabis Consuming Mothers
The next study looked at the differences between exposed and non-exposed children at the age of 5. The 1991 study, that appeared in The West Indian Medical Journal, used the McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities to assess the children. The researchers noted that “the results show no significant differences in developmental testing outcomes between children of marijuana-using and non-using mothers.”
What we see from this collection of studies is that cannabis treats nausea in vomiting in pregnant mothers, their children have nominal birth outcomes, and the children—in later stages of development—show no differences from their counterparts who were not exposed to cannabis. It seems that cannabinoids are mother’s helper in keeping her nutrients and dehydration in check during pregnancy, and if children of cannabis consumers edge out the competition, then perhaps there is more to the cannabinoids as co-creators of life. Further studies are very much needed in this area.
Certainly, this does not mean every pregnant mother should go out and smoke cannabis while pregnant. In fact, there are much better ways to get cannabinoids —such as juicing raw cannabis—that are healthier for the mother. Ideally, more research will look into this in the future, but the difficulties of doing so are numerous: the schedule of cannabis, ethical concerns of human trials, and the stigma against parents who consume cannabis.
For now, social media mobs, leave your pitchforks at home. Let the evidence be the judge and jury, let the multitudes of parents who use cannabis in their spiritual and medicinal practice be a point of nuanced discussion, not the aim of self righteous berating.