LOS ANGELES – As marijuana becomes legal across the country, the number of consumers are increasing exceedingly. In fact, marijuana is becoming so normalized, not only are parents smoking around their children, but women are consuming pot while they are pregnant.
Melissa Ashburn, publically known as ‘Stoner Mama,’ believes that weed has improved her skills as a mother and grandmother. She started smoking not long ago after her son suggested it for her menopause. She now prefers marijuana over other prescribed medications.
“I honestly think that it opens up your brain more, like an actual path in your brain in a different manner that stays awake that wasn’t awake before,” Ashburn said, “People should be able to walk around smoking a joint or whatever they want to do, I really do. I don’t understand why people are so uptight about it.”
Medical marijuana has a similar effect on pregnant women in terms of medicating. A 21-year-old college student who chose to stay anonymous is 35 weeks pregnant. She says that marijuana has helped her tremendously throughout her pregnancy.
“I definitely have been using it to help because I get a lot of cramps, my back hurts a lot now which I’ve never had before in my life,” she said, “So far from what I’ve seen personally, there’s been no side effects to the baby.”
The science behind weed and pregnancy is largely unknown. Pregnant women all around the country are smoking during their pregnancy, partially because there are midwives and doulas giving them the OK.
“There is a slightly associated higher risk of stillbirth, definitely a risk of preterm birth, and we found that the babies got a little smaller but not into a dangerously low birth weight degree,” Jocelyn Brown, a midwife in Los Angeles said. She gives this information to her patients, and then allows them to make their own decision.
Because the legalization of marijuana is so new, it is almost impossible to identify the effects that marijuana has on pregnancy. Midwives and doulas are not able to recommend weed to their patients because of the lack of studies. Additionally, neither can they tell their patients to refrain from consumption if the patient believes it would help.
“Marijuana was so taboo for so long, we couldn’t do high-quality studies for women just being totally honest about their marijuana use because they were so afraid of persecution and so afraid of getting in trouble with the law,” Brown said.
While there are no available studies currently, there are experts in the field who can recommend what they believe to be best for pregnant women. Medical marijuana and CBD oil expert, Dr. Rachna Patel, educates by posting videos a few times a week to her YouTube channel, answering questions and discussing topics regarding marijuana as a medicine.
When asked about the effects of marijuana during pregnancy, Patel said, “I choose to err on the side of caution and do not recommend the use of medical marijuana during pregnancy to anyone that comes to me that is either pregnant or breastfeeding.”
As weed becomes more normalized, more and more people will be consuming it. Some of these people will include mothers and possibly even pregnant women. Regardless of this controversy, it is a topic that needs to be discussed and certainly researched more extensively.