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Marijuana and Morning Sickness

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Guest blogger Jessica Katz: I am one of those unfortunate people who get sick -- very sick -- when pregnant. It's not morning sickness, it's 24-hours-a-day sickness. From the first moment I saw the plus sign until I was in the delivery room, I spent my whole first pregnancy puking.

I broke down time after time. I had never felt this ill in my life. I was on Zofran (a prescription anti-nausea drug), drank ginger tea and wore wristbands for seasickness. None of those things worked. In fact, I didn't even gain a pound until I was six months along. After three months of puking had passed, my doctor told me, "The good news is that by nine months, it will all be over." But I felt like dying. 

So when people asked me when I would have another baby, it seemed like an impossibility. I was terrified that I would be sick again. When I told my OB, "I hear that every pregnancy is different; perhaps I won't get sick this time," he laughed out loud. I knew the odds were that I would be sick again. And sure enough, I am. 

Even though I am taking Zofran again, I am deathly ill. Now, I know that while you're pregnant you are supposed to limit caffeine, stop eating sushi and nitrates and not even touch Excedrin. So you can imagine my surprise when my doctor suggested marijuana as a treatment for morning sickness. I was floored. I am pretty sure that you are not supposed to do drugs in general, let alone when you are carrying a child. Don't they take your kids away from you if you do drugs while you are pregnant? 

I went home and Googled this remedy. Could it be real? I found page after page of moms saying they'd used medical marijuana to treat their severe morning sickness, and that it had worked. However, experts say that smoking marijuana during pregnancy may affect your baby's growth and the development of his nervous system. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to marijuana during pregnancy sometimes have problems focusing their attention and solving problems. Children of heavy pot users may also have problems with short-term memory, concentration and judgment. 

My father used medical marijuana during his chemotherapy, and it worked like a charm. Meanwhile, I am only a few months along -- and getting sicker by the day. I am desperate for a cure. Even so, I have decided not to try marijuana as a treatment for my nausea. I am fairly openminded, but not when it comes to pot and pregnancy.

Moms, what do you think?

next: A Chat with Michelle "Bombshell" McGee
61 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mum of One November 17, 2010, 8:27 AM

Go for it. Research as much as you can about marijuana. I’m sure you’ll find far more positive facts than negative (in fact, I can’t think of any negatives if you’re a responsible person). It’s a shame you didn’t use marijuana to relieve nausea in the first pregnancy. In my opinion, it’s a far better remedy than prescription pills. Anyway, do the research until you’re satisfied and comfortable with whichever decision that you make.

anonymous November 17, 2010, 8:59 AM

I agree with you. It’s not worth the risk. I have no issues with marijuana for medical use but in this case there is a developing fetus involved but I’m not a dr so what do I know… ;) That being said I guess it’s a personal choice although I’m not sure how legal (is pregnancy one of the “approved” conditions?). And if the risk to the fetus is greater without than with, perhaps it should be in extreme cases.

CarlinsMommy November 17, 2010, 9:04 AM

Some studies have been done on this issue (I bet your doctor could point you in the right direction, if you wanted to read them) and they show that THC, in low to moderate doses, has no ill effects on the fetus. You could try using a vaporizer, which allows you to only inhale the THC in a water-vapor form, as opposed to smoking it in a more traditional sense. I would suggest that you try it!

Ondine November 17, 2010, 10:36 AM

Forget that medical marijuana nonsense. Go out and buy a bag of the best weed you can and have a little puff when you need to. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, but a little puff every now and then, especially when medically indicated and suggested by a medical professional, is for the betterment of us all, the baby included.

Helen Liggett November 17, 2010, 12:34 PM

If your doctor says it is safe, use pot in moderation. Eat or vaporize it rather than smoke it, but your baby will be far better off if born at a decent birth weight than if you don’t find help and it is born underweight. Do the research - I bet your baby will be better off born at the right weight with pot than underweight with manmade chemicals.

denbee November 17, 2010, 1:17 PM

Cannabis is one of the safest substance you can consume. Safe for you and safe for baby. I do suggest that if you do choose to use it to vaporize it instead of smoking it. Or brew a cannabis tea with honey, is very soothing also. It is also very effective for stimulating hunger. The main effects of cannabis are a mild and brief euphoria and a general sense of well being. Non-toxic, non-lethal and well tolerated medicine from mother nature.

Anonymous November 17, 2010, 1:38 PM

Babies born to hypies were very healthy. If I didn’t smoke marijuana when I was pregnant with my second child I would have never eaten. The smell the taste of food made me so sick I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t do much just a small hit and then I was fine. If you dr said it will help believe him.

girlie November 17, 2010, 2:04 PM

Ladies, I smoked weed nearly every single day throughout my entire pregnancy and it sure got me through it! We have a bright, alert, strong, and happy girl. Our doctor always remarks, “keep doing whatever you’re doing - she’s perfect.” Great birth weight too!

We are also practicing attachment parenting, had a natural birth, and have researched this topic enough to know that smoking a little MJ it’s A-OK! Just a little research will show how much safer it is than alcohol and most over-the-counter drugs during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Proud smoking Mama here, just can’t wait ‘til it’s legal.

mom of 2 November 17, 2010, 2:07 PM

I used it during one of my pregnancies.. my kid is super smart, quick, funny, charming, and healthier than the one I didn’t smoke with. Listen to your doc, this time.

leese November 17, 2010, 2:13 PM

i agree with the above positive statements. once when i was pregnant a decade ago i went through several weeks where i just kept getting sicker and sicker…my husband began to worry enough he spoke to someone at work who “hooked him up” with a joint. i took a hit that evening, and a couple more throughout the next few days. worked like a charm. I could sleep, EAT!~which i wasnt doing that scared the hubby… and the nausea disappeared.
now i worked recently with someone who was pregnant and was sooo sick she had to carry that pump thing that shot chemical meds into her leg for over a month just to get BACK to a healthy weight. poor girl! so i know i didnt have it sooo bad, but i swear it helps.
i agree if you are afraid of smoking…a vaporizer is the best way to inhale, but eating is a mellow experience, if you can eat. its a process to make ganja food, unless you are in a state where you can access medicinal marijuana products. but food is the best way to not experience “the weirdsies” from usnig marijuana. at least so i have heard.
leese from indiana.

Sungirl November 17, 2010, 2:13 PM

I smoked when I was pregnant back in 1969 and my child weighed in at 8.5 pounds. He was an honor student with a high IQ. He was put into gifted classes in 3rd grade and had never shown any adverse effects from my having smoked. In those days vaporizers didn’t exsist. Since your doctor had advised this course of treatment I think you should give it serious consideration. Do you homework and then act in the best interest of your developing fetus…which would be to partake!

Amanda November 17, 2010, 2:26 PM

Kudos to you for doing your research! I have an 11 month old son and went through the same issues. Zofran, peppermint tea, seabands, EVERYTHING. I actually lost 60 pounds in the 1st and 2nd trimesters. Marijuana was the only thing that allowed me to move. It didn’t solve my problems… I still threw up every day until the day my son was born. But marijuana made it bearable. I ended up still 40 pounds less than my original weight at delivery but at least I gained. My son was born 9 days late, but absolutely perfect. I do not live in a medical marijuana state so I took a HUGE risk but I knew what I was doing was right for my baby and myself. Best of luck to you!

kmag November 17, 2010, 2:32 PM

I am a huge advocate of medicinal marijuana and legalization in general. That being said as someone being trained to work in maternal health and substance use I feel obliged to tell you almost all of the peer reviewed studies done regarding THC consumption during pregnancy show negative effects for the fetus. Because THC is stored in fat of the mother for a prolonged period of time after use is stopped, even when the mother discontinues use upon realizing she is pregnant the infant may still be exposed and experience adverse effects. These early effects can include low birth weight, placental complications and preterm labor. Studies have also shown that later in life effects can include visuospatial disorders, asthma, ADD and hyperactivity. Anecdotal stories posted on here are nice and their children may have turned out perfectly fine, but they are no substitute for peer reviewed, science based research.
That being said if you do choose to use marijuana to treat symptoms of pregnancy research suggests that the higher the amount of THC consumed the more likely negative effects are to appear and the more severe they seem to be. Only you can decide what is the right course of action for you during your pregnancy. I wish you the best of luck!

Mother of two November 17, 2010, 2:41 PM

I was ill just the same. I smoked through both pregnancies. Not only for the nausea but I also have other health issues. My kids are fine, they do great in school and are really good kids. Call it luck or call it whatever you want. I think that it is at the vry least worth a try. They also make a pill called Marinol that is THC based medication that is supposed to decrease nausea and increase appetite, but smoking works better.

Amie November 17, 2010, 3:11 PM

I was extremely sick with my first pregnancy, 24/7. It was to the point where I had to go to the ER because I was dehydrated and couldn’t even keep ice cubes down. Maraijuana helped a lot and now I have a healthy son who is extremely smart, almost too smart lol. It would be worse if you weren’t able to gain weight and get proper nutrition to your baby.

Paula November 17, 2010, 4:35 PM

Wow, just reading these comments makes me ill. I was a regular vomit-a-holic during my pregnancy and everything got me. Things I did like and things I didn’t. Just the thought of pot smoke and pregnancy makes me want to spew.

It’s unregulated, highly untested (no matter what your probably pot-smoking doc says). Think of all the regulation on cigarettes and they cause horrendous long-term damage to babies. Pot exists without much of those regulations to protect the user. I know it sucks but it’s just three more months. You’ve made it past the half way mark and on your way to the finish line.

Don’t let the fog of the potheads sway you. You’re baby will have plenty of opportunities to investigate it for themselves, why start life addicted.

Jenny November 17, 2010, 6:04 PM

If you want the science, along with these anecdotes, a good meta analysis is in the book called Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science, and Sociology.

White girl November 17, 2010, 6:35 PM

My words may not mean much but… You know my first preg. I got sick but only took a hit a time or two. My second preg. I was sick!!! I’d take a hit or two in the morning to relieve the nausea, cause the smell or sight of things are hard to deal with. My third preg. I didn’t so smoke much either. I quit smoking cigs for my pregnancies and I don’t like alcohol so I pretty much fed myself well and my girls are 15 - 17 - 20 and doing just fine. If it helps to take a hit, I say go for it. Woman smoke and drink, that’s not good at all…

mjmatt November 17, 2010, 6:35 PM

****the human brain has its very own endo-cannabinoid system. GOOGLE it, our brains use cannabinoids in almost all natural functions. marijuana, more professionally known as cannabis, has long been a part of human evolution. most of the dangers that are associated with marijuana use is method of use. smoke from anything is cancerous,there are many ways to eat cannabis. there are now also oral sprays awaiting approval, soda pop, also topical methods that do not get you “high”.****food for thought****: every single pill has whats called an np50 value, this is the amount of that substance to make a lethal dose.(if you take this much… you die!) even if you drink too much water too fast you can die. THERE IS NO LETHAL DOSE OF CANNABIS, IT IS NOT TOXIC! the best guess is 1500lbs consumed in one hour. truth is contagious!

Kate November 17, 2010, 6:41 PM

Cannabis is the one “drug” that CAN NOT KILL YOU!!! The ONLY studies you need to read are the ones done in Jamaica. The other studies are done on low income Moms who eat like crap, drink, and smoke cigarettes. The negative effects on their kids are from things besides cannabis. Besides, Cannabis is NOT addictive and it can’t kill you. Put in a vaporizer, brew tea, or make ginger cookies with cannabutter and you don’t have the negative effects of smoking. Combustion of cannabis and the resulting unhealthy chemicals that are released in that process is what is unhealthy, not the cannabis itself. Your doctor is suggesting it so give it a try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I see cannabis as one of the most miraculous plants on the planet. The “Just say No” campaign lied to us all. Educate Yourself and do what is right for you - sounds like you are already doing that. Good luck! Just know a little cannabis can go a LONG way to make you feel better and to make you a BETTER mom to your kids.

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