Marijuana has been more common than ever in recent years due to legalization in many states across the United States. In fact, marijuana is now fully illegal in only 10 states. Forty states across the US have decriminalized marijuana use, legalized it medicinally or legalized recreational use.
Therefore, there has been an increase in the number of women using marijuana during their pregnancies. According to this study, 70% of women both pregnant and nonpregnant believe there is little risk in marijuana use once or twice a week. In fact, 7% of pregnant women in the study had used marijuana in the past 2-12 months. What harm is there in little pot?
Studies prove over and over that there is both short-term and long-term harm for both mother and baby. THC, the chemical in marijuana passes through the placenta to the baby. According to the March of Dimes studies suggest that marijuana use during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, fetal growth restriction (when your baby doesn’t gain enough weight), anencephaly (problems in the developing brain and spine), anemia, problems with brain development and stillbirth. After birth babies can have withdrawal symptoms, problems with sleeping, overall development, behavior, memory, learning and paying attention.
The short term “high” a mother feels after smoking marijuana can lead to impairment, changes in mood and difficulty with thinking. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse long-term marijuana use can lead to loss of IQ, breathing problems, increased heart rate, hallucinations and paranoia.
What to do if you’re pregnant and smoking pot? Get some help. According to Medical News Today, the best way to quit smoking marijuana is to visit a rehabilitation or detox center, try outpatient therapy and join a support group. To get started you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). They provide free, confidential help for people facing substance abuse.