Using Cannabis During Pregnancy

Using Cannabis During Pregnancy

THC can interfere with the implantation of the embryo making it harder for a woman that smokes marijuana to get pregnant. Like tobacco smoke, pregnant women should not expose themselves and their babies to marijuana smoke. Babies born to mothers that smoked marijuana during pregnancy weighed an average of 3.4 ounces less than other babies. Newborns of mothers that smoke either tobacco or marijuana have a higher mutation rate than those of non-smokers.

Jamaican women often drink marijuana tea as opposed to smoking marijuana and their children do not show any neurobehavioral problems. Whereas the cognitive abilities of babies born to mothers that smoked marijuana during pregnancy often show detectable deficits up until the age of 5, when the deficits are no longer detectable (this is for global measures of intelligence such as language development, reading scores, and visual or perceptual tasks).

There has been evidence that children exposed to marijuana parentally may exhibit deficits in executive function as late as 9-12 years old. That means they have trouble planning, anticipating, and suppressing behaviors that are incompatible with a current goal, and are often described as hyperactive or impulsive. However, in the case of the executive function the cause of the deficit could be related to the reason the mother was smoking marijuana during pregnancy, and not necessarily the marijuana exposure.

Marijuana use can disturb the T and B cell function of the bodies lymphocytes, but it is a very small disturbance that is usually within normal limits. Just like tobacco smokers, alveolar macrophages, the lungs immune-effector cells, have difficulty destroying fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells in the lungs. For this reason people with immune system deficiencies should avoid marijuana usage.

Cardiovascular System

Marijuana smoke and THC can cause a rapid heartbeat of up to 20-100% above the baseline during the first 10-20 minutes of smoking, and some users have an increase in blood pressure. Experienced users of marijuana have a tolerance for this effect, so it is not usually seen in marijuana users that have been using marijuana regularly. The tolerance can be built in as little as a week of frequent usage. The cardiovascular changes usually are insignificant to younger users. Older people should be aware of this fact though, as their bodies typically cannot handle cardiovascular changes as well.

Reproductive System

Marijuana and THC inhibit the release of luteinizing hormone, which is responsible for signaling the release of testosterone and estrogen. Again a tolerance is seen in this effect as well, meaning regular users of marijuana typically do not have any reduction in testosterone and estrogen, only those that have just begun smoking marijuana.