Note to the SCC February 8 Here are responses to a question posed after Dale Gieringer, PhD, a close ally of the SCC’s and a trustworthy source of info re cannabis, wrote: “General opinion among medical cannabis experts is that pregnant women should avoid cannabis like other drugs except for medical purposes (which may or may not include morning sickness)…”
SCC members were asked: Is that really the case? Do you tell healthy pregnant women to lay off the herb? We attached Melanie Dreher’s findings re cannabis use during pregnancy (accompanied by Lucas et al on cannabis as a treatment for morning sickness):
- Dean Weiss, MD: [After citing Dreher] What exactly are “medical purposes?” first trimester morning sickness? all Rx options are either potentially harmful (pregnancy class B or worse) or worthless. anxiety? pre-existing conditions like musculoskeletal issues or headaches? Ask Dale to clearly define “medical” in the year 2015. Personally I have zero concerns about pregnancy and cannabis. i’m more concerned about the high potency extracts and edibles, I think those fond of them are making holes in their brains. way beyond the potency of a fat doobie of cannabis cup winning ganja.
- Paul Bregman, MD: Yes i do. But with a discussion about cannabis and pregnancy For chronic users i tell them to cut back their use.
- Allan Frankel, MD: I tell patients to avoid any medicine not critically important. If hyperemesis or other medical issues demand therapy, I would treat with cannabis if possible. There just is no good study and it will be years before we have them. The Jamaican and UCLA studies were too small to really help.
- Name Withheld, MD: I’m as conservative as Dale and think the fewer extraneous substances a pregnant female uses the better including Cannabis. However, if a woman requires Cannabis for control of hyperemesis gravidarum or seizures I feel the benefits out weigh the risks. Also the safe antiemetics are also expensive and many of my patients do not have adequate insurance. I do tell my pregnant patients that Cannabis has not been associated with any known fetal defects.
- Name Withheld, MD: My advice is to avoid all drugs, if possible, but to use cannabis if they need it for morning sickness or other serious medical problems, whether related or unrelated to pregnancy, as it is safer than most all the conventional drugs they’d be prescribed and presents less threat (or none) to the pregnancy than allowing the symptoms to go unabated. I believe it does cross the placenta, but know of no valid studies showing significant harm to the fetus, and women have been using it for childbirth for centuries. Nonetheless, use it only as long as it is really needed and be mindful of everything you do, eat, and are exposed to while pregnant.
Dale Gieringer, who started this ball rolling, added “Perhaps I spoke too hastily about the general opinion.” But based on the responses above, he did not.