Pot and pregnancy: Mom's Choice or Child Safety?

A mom, we'll call 'Jane', loves spending time with her baby boy. She feels great now, but said the nausea during her pregnancy was brutal.

"I would just eat a few almonds here and there; that was the only thing that I could keep down, almonds and seltzer water."

After losing weight, Jane felt like she needed to do something. So, she turned to marijuana to help with her appetite.

"And as soon as I vaped the cannabis, instantly I was hungry and was able to hold down entire meals, and it was great."

"I think using cannabis during pregnancy is a growing trend right now," said Dr. Emily Earlenbaugh, Cannabis Consultant.

Dr. Earlenbaugh holds a medical marijuana card for chronic pain. She makes a living helping people sort through the controversy so they can decide if the drug is right for them-- even in pregnancy.

"It's important to look at the medical research and see, ya know, is this a safe option relative to other medications that you might use in place of it or relative to using nothing at all?"

Researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported "evidence of the effects of marijuana on human prenatal development is limited" but said "there is cause for concern."

Drug abuse experts link pot use to "anemia" in the mother, "lower birth weight," and say "infants are more likely to end up in neonatal intensive care."

Dr. Earlenbaugh points out many of the studies don't account for other substances that may affect results.

"If you're already using, ya know, tobacco, alcohol during pregnancy, you're more likely to also be using cannabis, and we really can't say whether those patients who are reporting cannabis use are not taking other substances at the same time."

Adding to the debate, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists calls for doctors to urge their pregnant patients or those contemplating pregnancy, to discontinue marijuana use.

Jane said she mentioned her use on forms at every doctor's visit, but no one ever said anything. As for her son, he was born at a healthy seven and a half pounds.

"He has met all the major milestones. We never had to take him to the doctor other than just for his normal check-ups."

While recreational marijuana use is now legal in California, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies it as a schedule one drug with 'no currently accepted medical use.'
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