Sparking up a joint isn't something normally suggested in the pregnancy forums or the baby books. But believe it or not, a growing number of mums are turning to cannabis during pregnancy to ward off morning sickness, claiming that it's less risky than prescription medication.
Last week, the American Medical Association even suggested that marijuana products should be labelled, "Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding poses potential harms."
Those in favour of marijuana as a morning sickness remedy point to a Jamaican study carried out in 1994, which suggests there was no difference in the behaviour of babies who had been exposed to the drug after a few days.
However, according to American's National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Human studies have shown that some babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancies respond differently to visual stimuli, tremble more and have a high-pitched cry, which could indicate problems with neurological development."
This week, several American mothers who used weed during pregnancy revealed to Vice the reasons behind their controversial choice.
"The medical term for what I suffered is 'hyperemesis gravidarum,' which is a fancy way to say I was throwing up so much that it was a danger to my health and the health of my baby," said one. "Marijuana did help. Immensely. I don't think I would have made it through without cannabis."
"I was initially against the idea of it, mainly because of the stigma surrounding smoking while pregnant," said another. "However, after three weeks of keeping almost nothing down and craving a sandwich… I smoked for the first time. Just a couple hits. I sat back, ate half a sandwich, and it didn't come back up! I think I napped after. I smoked a few more times after that because I was still puking almost every 20 to 40 minutes during weeks four through 15 and had lost about 20 pounds. When I smoked, I could eat and nap. It helped keep food down and was better than Zofran. Honestly a lifesaver."
Of course, it's possible for pregnant women in some parts of America to use cannabis during pregnancy without breaking the law. Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalising the drug in some form.
Cannabis remains illegal in the U.K. — it's currently a Class B illegal drug, meaning the maximum penalty for possession is up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
The NHS states that "research suggests that using cannabis during pregnancy could affect your baby's brain development" and warns that "regularly smoking cannabis with tobacco is associated with an increased risk of your baby being born small or premature."
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