Medical Consequences of Smoking Pot While Pregnant

Disclaimer: I am not pregnant, nor do I intend to be any time soon. This is not medical advice, nor would I need this question answered if I were impregnated.

I would like to explain to someone very clearly and concisely why she should not smoke pot while she is pregnant. I know it’s a terrible, selfish thing to do, but I want the cites to back it up. “It’s just bad, that’s why” doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. What are some specific possible or definite consequences of regular consumption of marijuana to a fetus/embryo/zygote? Opinions on the moral character of a person who would do such a thing should be minimized, please. I think we can all agree that this is a BAD THING to do. But why, exactly?

Whoa, something I can answer and provide sites.

From the March of Dimes website:

It goes on to say that babies often suffer withdrawal symptoms.

This page goes into detail about prematurity.

Not a whole heck of a lot, actually. I’ll see what else I can find.

According to this page, pot smoke has many of the same nasties as cigarette smoke. But on the other hand, not even the most dedicated pot-head is going to smoke 20 to 40 joints a day. But those harmful elements are due to burning it. You can extract the THC from pot at a temperature lower than burning using a vaporizer. If they wish to continue using, you might suggest a less harmful THC delivery system. Not a doctor, but this should reduce the harm level to roughly the same as a nicotine patch.

The main problem is that it might increase the probability of consuming other, proven harmful substances like alcohol and cigarette smoke.

Update: The March of Dimes data was probably not from groups that only used marijuana, and didn’t use alcohol and tobacco.

I am not going to argue for or against the veracity of that statement, but I want to discourage anybody from even mentioning it in an argument with a marijuana user, lest you be laughed at mercilessly and the rest of your argument disregarded.

Aren’t newborn babies hungry enough already without giving them the munchies?

“Marijuana during pregnancy has been linked to low birth weights in babies and withdrawal-like symptoms including excessive crying, tremors, hyperemesis (severe and chronic vomiting).” [emphasis added]

Other studies about such links were inconclusive.

The most consistent argument against many of the studies is, as mentioned in previous post, the lack of isolation of marijuana as the lone variable.

"Conclusion, unless you smoke in excess of three grams (6 to 10 joints) of marijuana a day, everyday you are pregnant, it is very unlikely that you will damage your unborn baby.

This is not to say that you should use any drug or medication while pregnant. You will not do any good to your baby if you use marijuana while pregnant."

Hopefully your friend (or any pregnant woman) is not smoking excess amounts, and is not also smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, taking other drugs, etc. I hope they reconsider smoking marijuana too.

Why? Do they not think it’s true? I mean, I didn’t make it up or pull it from thin air.

And you needn’t worry. I rarely argue with anybody about anything. Just not worth my time.

Withdrawal symptoms in a newborn would only be physical withdrawal – from physical dependence. The notion that marijuana has any kind of significant physical dependence sounds preposterous to a lot of marijuana users.

So then, the question is, does marijuana cause physical dependence and withdrawal?

I know Dr. Drew on loveline has said that it does, but I have no idea what data he uses to back this up.

But yes, potheads are all convinced that there is no addiction, they don’t need it, they just enjoy it and “the lifestyle”, and really, it’s natural so it can’t hurt you, and it being illegal is just a big corporate/government conspiracy anyways.

I know anecdotal evidence is worse than no evidence at all, but even with psychological dependence and psychological withdrawal thrown in I’ve never heard of anybody who wanted to quit smoking pot but found so to be very difficult or all that challenging. People just decide to quit and quit. This is not something I can say of salt or sugar.

I really don’t appreciate the stereotypes being brought into this thread. If these statements were qualified by something like “many potheads/potsmokers” or “the ones I’ve met”, I suppose it would be acceptable as less than a stereotype, but this isn’t even what I’m asking about, so I’m failing to see the point of bringing it up at all.

Any pot smoker with an ounce of self-awareness can admit that pot has an addictive aspect. It’s not easy to stop doing it, once it has become a habit. How could I possibly deny that is an addiction?

That’s what is termed psychological addiction. What was discussed in a few posts here is physical addiction.

Disregarding the number of people who will deny they are addicted to cigarettes (:rolleyes: ), what I was referring to is physical dependence, not addiction. Something that causes negative physical withdrawal symptoms other than craving the drug.

There are different kinds of addication. Sex is addicting. But not in the same was as Caffaine or Tobacco. Weed can be addicting but in the same way as sex, it feels good so you wanna keep doing it. Its not physically addicting like Caffine or Tabacco

Long ago, I used to smoke pot. Its only addictive aspect was psychological. One day I decided not to smoke it any more, and the only hard thing about it was that every once in awhile I’d find myself in a group that was passing a joint around, and by habit, not taking a toke before passing it to the next person was something I had to think about. That was it.

Don’t even ask about when I tried to give up coffee.

I know people who had an easier time giving up pot than giving up Oreos. In fact, I had a harder time giving up meat than I did going without marijuana, so am I a meat addict?

Obviously, someone who liked its effects would have a harder time. The more they liked the effects, the harder it would be.

The person I knew who had the hardest time giving up marijuana started using it, in the first place, as something to smoke instead of cigarettes.

Actually, in opposition to the OP, I don’t think we can all agree that smoking pot is a BAD THING, even for someone who’s pregnant. Anecdotally, I had lots of friends who smoked pot through pregnancy, and their babies didn’t experience any negative consequences and are now self-sufficient (and even high-achieving in many cases) adults in their late 20s and early 30s.

Yeah, me too. Let me explain what I mean by “hard to stop doing it”: difficulty eating because of a marked lack of appetite, difficulty sleeping because of just not being tired, and general jitteriness, aside from the psychological aspect of being pretty irritable. My main point on that was that it is incorrect to say that all potheads will refuse to admit there is an addictive aspect. Here I am, admitting it.

If we want to bring anecdotal evidence into my actual question, the only person I know whose mother smoked pot during her pregnancy, is unfortunately dumb as a box of rocks. Caused by the pot? Who knows? That’s the nature of anecdotal evidence.

Look, I think it’s a terrible thing that my “friend” is doing to her fetus, and I’d like to give her some sound scientific reasons to stop. If those reasons aren’t out there, I suppose I’ll just have to leave it be. But when expectant mothers are encouraged not to even drink caffeine (yeah, I’m addicted to that), I have to feel like there are some compelling reasons out there not to smoke pot while pregnant.

Anecdotally, I turned out fine, and so did one of my brothers.

I don’t have a cite for this, but I read on CNN a few months ago about some research that suggested that marijuana use while pregnant can be harmful to the fetus. Apparently, the receptors that bind to a THC-like molecule produced by the body in utero will bind to the THC instead leading to some developmental issue or other. Did anyone else see this?


Well, I have seen a legitimate hypothesis that exposure to high amounts of THC during brain development (in utero and even during childhood) does alter neuro pathways and can in some instances be associated with cognitive shortcomings.

It’s hard to test for though, and a double-blind experiment is right out of the question.