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Mellow Moms: A Look at Medical Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman cradles her belly as she considers using the medicinal aspects of marijuana.

Joint Opinions

Mellow Moms: A Look at Medical Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

My 7-month-old daughter knows how to party. Get her around people, and she immediately puts on her social face, cracking up on sight. People are amazed at how interactive she is, how mellow and at ease she can be, rolling with the flow like B is for Bob Marley. She’s sat through independent film screenings, hangs out backstage with bands and could be a poster girl for “chill.”

I often wonder if my wife using cannabis during her pregnancy might have something to do with it.

When that big red plus sign first appeared on the stick, we immediately hit the bookstore for literature on cannabis and pregnancy. We learned that little research exists on the subject, and what does exist is surprisingly benign, and even positive.

One of the most positive studies I came across was done by Melanie Dreher, Dean of Nursing at Rush Medical Center in Chicago, published in 1994 in the American Journal of Pediatrics.

Dreher studied Jamaican women during their entire pregnancy and into their babies’ development, some who smoked cannabis during gestation and others who abstained. Unlike similar tests in the U.S., the mothers only smoked pot and did not use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. Though Dreher expected to see adverse birth weights and negative neuro tests in the babies of marijuana smoking mothers, there were no negative differences found whatsoever.

What researchers did notice, however, was that the babies of the toking moms tended to socialize more quickly, made eye contact sooner and engaged easier. This tendency was most prevalent in the babies of the heaviest smoking moms. In fact, babies of the heaviest cannabis using mothers tended to be even more socially responsive and autonomically stable at 30 days than their matched counterparts. They showed a higher quality of alertness and had more robust motor and autonomic systems. They were also less irritable, needed less outside facilitation to organize and had better self-regulation.

Overall, babies of tokers were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers than the average bee at one month of age.

“Our testing showed that the children of women who used ganja had better alertness, stability and adjustment than children of women who didn’t use ganja,” Dreher said in an interview with Cannabis Culture. “This was measured at the age of one month. We measured children again at four years and at five years of age, and found that there were no apparent deficits in the children of marijuana-using mothers. In fact, in many ways, they were better off than children of non-smoking mothers. The ganja-using mothers also seemed better off than non-users.”

Dreher’s research isn’t the only pregnancy study that will leave mom tapping her bottom lip with a vape pen. Other research shows that babies who test positive for THC have nearly twice the chance of survival. Cannabinoids are also naturally present in the breast milk and work to induce babies with the munchies to get them to eat.

And that’s just the tip of the Volcano…

What do you think about pregnant women using marijuana? Tell us in the comments below!

Learn more about marijuana use during pregnancy in Issue 11 of Cannabis Now Magazine, on stands June 2014.

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