Earlier this summer, we warned about some of the risks of toking while pregnant due to results from a study that examined the effects of cannabis, tobacco, caffeine and alcohol on birth size and subsequent infant growth. Researchers initially found a link between smoking marijuana during pregnancy and having a preterm or low-birth-weight baby. Another study regarding infant brain development, which we reported on in May, found no difference in brains of children exposed to prenatal cannabis. Still, we advised to exercise caution, and advocated for low doses of THC or CBD-only products to be consumed by expecting mothers.
Now, researchers are scrutinizing the data obtained from some 31 previously conducted marijuana studies, including those we reported on this year. A significant flaw of the studies’ findings is that researchers did not take into account that many weed smokers also smoke tobacco. Because negative effects of prenatal tobacco usage are well-established, those negative effects could have affected the studies’ outcomes.
After separating subjects who smoke tobacco from those who don’t, the results put to rest fears that pot usage by expecting mothers can be damaging to a baby’s health. The combined re-analysis of the studies found a lack of any link between marijuana use and birth defects of any kind, including birth size, brain damage, and miscarriage.
But before you moms-to-be go all out and buy that gorgeous $15K craftsbong you’ve been pining for, hold up. According to Aaron Caughey, MD, chair of the OBGYN Department at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, “When the authors go from the adjusted analyses to further adjusted analyses, they have to dramatically reduce their sample size. Thus, the negative findings of no increased risk for preterm birth or low birthweight could just be because of inadequate study power.”
Herein lies the catch-22 of marijuana research. As global cannabis consumption increases worldwide, the stigma surrounding marijuana medical studies remains, causing a gridlock in scientific research and “inadequate study power.” Thus, there are simply not enough high-quality studies to warrant full-fledged mandates on the drug’s effects on childbirth.
So, while this news is promising, and a step in the right direction, use caution when smoking weed while pregnant. Choose naturally sourced CBD products, only buy from companies with safe and clear labeling, and take care of yourself. And start saving up for that beautiful glass-blown pipe as a treat-yo-self present for giving birth!