Recent studies have shown that edibles are commonly used by pregnant women (1). While many doctors warn against cannabis edibles during pregnancy, the topic remains highly debated.
If you are pregnant or trying for a baby, talk to your doctor first before continuing your edibles. Discussing your options with a doctor is the safest thing you can do for yourself and your baby.
Is edible cannabis safe during pregnancy?
Edible cannabis refers to cannabis products that you can eat or drink. Cannabis gummies are becoming more popular since people can easily control how much cannabis is added to their edibles.
Healthcare professionals warn against the use of any cannabis product during pregnancy, and this includes edibles.
Regardless of how cannabis is consumed, it can still cross the placenta and interact with the baby. Because of this, healthcare professionals say that edibles are bad for those who are pregnant.
Experts say that current research does not provide enough information on the full effects that edibles have on unborn infants.
Researchers can also confirm that higher doses or frequent use of cannabis edibles are more likely to cause harm.
While healthcare workers may acknowledge that edibles have some therapeutic benefits, they explain that those benefits do not always outweigh the potential harm to the baby.
Why do some women use edibles during pregnancy?
Many people are quick to judge women for using edibles during their pregnancy. However, very few people understand why pregnant women use edibles in the first place.
Some experts have looked into this matter, and you might be surprised by their findings (2).
A common finding was that some women used edible cannabis to treat their anxiety or depression. For instance, women who were extremely anxious about the birth of their child turned to edibles to ease their anxiety.
As you can imagine, being pregnant is a very stressful time. On top of this, pregnancy hormones also play a role in making anxiety or depression worse.
Another finding shows that pregnant women turn to edibles when their nausea or morning sickness becomes unbearable.
Morning sickness affects everyone differently. While some women are barely affected, others struggle to look after their families or go to work when their nausea and vomiting are severe.
Cannabis is well known for controlling nausea and vomiting. Hence, it is understandable why women might use edible cannabis when they need relief from morning sickness.
Another aspect is that some women are unaware of the potential harm. Experts explain that these ladies do not perceive edible cannabis as a drug or medicine that can interact with their unborn babies.
Because edible cannabis causes very little harm to adults and has a range of therapeutic benefits, this might be why some women believe it is safe to use during their pregnancy.
As a result of these findings, experts have urged healthcare professionals to provide better support to pregnant women if they feel depressed, anxious, stressed, or unwell.
If you know of someone using edible cannabis during their pregnancy, the best thing you can do for them is offer support in case they are feeling anxious or depressed.
If any of these issues concern you during your pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor immediately. While your doctor might advise against edible cannabis, there are other solutions they could potentially offer you instead.
While researchers have identified some potential risks, several health problems remain unknown. Therefore, doctors are unable to outline every possible complication that might occur from using edibles during pregnancy.
As mentioned, compounds from cannabis can cross the placenta. The placenta is a vital organ that develops during pregnancy.
The role of the placenta is to enable nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s blood, to transfer to the growing baby. The placenta also removes any waste products to ensure that the baby stays healthy.
Since nutrients and oxygen can pass from the mother’s blood to the baby, other compounds circulating in the mother’s body can also cross.
What does the research show?
Animal studies have demonstrated that THC, a compound from cannabis, can easily cross the placenta. In these studies, 10% of the mother’s THC crossed the placenta and made it into the unborn baby (3).
Because these compounds can cross the placenta, they can potentially impact the baby’s growth and development. For example, cannabis is already known to affect brain development in unborn babies.
Experts say cannabis impacts brain development by altering dopamine activity. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that regulates many cognitive functions.
As a result, attention deficit or hyperactivity disorders can occur when dopamine activity is altered (4). It can also cause cognitive impairment and emotional dysregulation, which can be noticed later in life when the child grows up.
Researchers have also found that babies exposed to edibles could have anxiety problems after they are born. Anxious babies tend to cry more and need more attention, which is very stressful for a new mom.
More serious complications include a risk of stillbirth, premature birth, and low birth weight. When babies are born prematurely or have a low birth weight, they will need to be admitted to an intensive care unit.
When admitted to these units, babies get around-the-clock care and are monitored closely. Some babies can remain in intensive care units for weeks, which can be very stressful for the mother and her family.
For these reasons mentioned, doctors and other healthcare workers do not recommend cannabis edibles during pregnancy, as the potential risks that might occur could have a significant impact.
Other research has suggested that edibles might cause harm to the mother since a side effect of them is dizziness and low blood pressure. As a result, the mother could be more prone to fainting or falling over, as being pregnant can also lower blood pressure (5).
What should you do if you have used edibles during your pregnancy?
If there are any concerns regarding your pregnancy or your health, the first thing you should do is go straight to your doctor.
Many women use edibles during the first weeks of pregnancy before knowing they are pregnant. This is no different from how other women might drink alcohol or caffeine before realizing they are pregnant.
Doctors are aware of these occurrences, and extra precautions can be taken to ensure that you and your baby are safe. For example, your doctor can order some extra scans or tests to ensure everything is fine.
Do not be too hard on yourself if this has happened, as the harmful effects are usually linked to frequent use of cannabis throughout the entire pregnancy.
If you stopped using edible cannabis once you found out it was unsafe for your baby, then you have done everything you can to reduce as much harm as possible.
As a precaution, many healthcare professionals recommend that women discontinue their edibles if they are trying for a baby. They also suggest that edibles should be avoided until breastfeeding or lactation has stopped.
Edibles should be avoided for pregnant ladies, and healthcare professionals do not recommend using any cannabis product during pregnancy.
While there are some compelling reasons women might use edibles during pregnancy, these benefits do not outweigh the potential risks. If you have any questions about using edibles during your pregnancy, you should not hesitate to address these concerns with your doctor.