As marijuana legalization expands and cannabis products become more common, consumers suddenly find they have access to alternative cannabis-derived treatments that claim to help a host of medical conditions.
Could one of those ailments include morning sickness of expectant mothers? People who work at marijuana dispensaries think so.
But medical experts caution it isn’t a good idea, and using marijuana can harm a pregnancy.
A new study published in the June issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology — the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) journal — found that nearly 70 percent of Colorado cannabis dispensaries contacted by study investigators recommended cannabis products to treat nausea during the first trimester.
This recommendation from dispensary employees goes directly against the guidance of the experts at ACOG.
“Obstetrician-gynecologists should be discouraged from prescribing or suggesting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes during pre-conception, pregnancy, and lactation,” the study authors wrote, citing ACOG’s recommendation.
ACOG notes children prenatally exposed to marijuana may be at increased risk for behavioral issues, decreased attention span, and other visual-motor conditions. Pregnant women who use marijuana may be at increased risk for stillbirth.
Dr. Katrina Mark, assistant professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said that as people’s attitudes on marijuana change, the medical community needs to make sure they can address and answer patients’ questions about the drug.
“The liberalization of laws related to marijuana use are rapidly changing. This is not necessarily a negative thing, but we as healthcare professionals need to make sure that we are keeping up with our evidence-based counseling of patients,” Mark said.
“Legalization does not equate to safety, particularly in pregnancy,” Mark added, pointing out the study is needed to bring attention to this topic.
“The most obvious example of this is alcohol,” she said. “No liquor store would recommend alcohol to treat pregnancy ailments, and neither should a marijuana dispensary. I actually think the fact that dispensaries are providing any recommendations for treatment of medical conditions is very much overstepping appropriate boundaries.”
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