Women and Marijuana

Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Marijuana, Women |

women and marijuana

Drug abuse is rising among women. Men still outnumber women in terms of drug abuse and addiction, but the gap is starting to close. Women comprise nearly 32 percent of admissions to drug treatment centers nationwide. Illnesses associated with drug use are expected to kill some 200,000 women annually – four times more than breast cancer.

Women and Marijuana: Fertility

Many people think of marijuana as a fairly benign drug. However, in terms of a women’s fertility, marijuana can be very dangerous. Women who smoke the drug regularly secrete small amounts of THC in their vaginal fluid and also have trace amounts present in their reproductive organs. Sperm that come into contact with this THC absorb the drug and become over stimulated. Continued use of marijuana can also impair hormones in the brain that control puberty, menstrual cycles, and ovulation.

Women and Marijuana: Pregnancy

Every day you smoke marijuana while pregnant puts your body in danger of high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, low weight gain, preterm labor and early delivery. Marijuana crosses the placenta, so when you smoke pot, your baby is affected too. It contains toxins that can keep your baby from getting enough oxygen. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact effect of marijuana on your baby’s brain because many mothers who smoke pot during pregnancy also abuse other substances. However, it is widely known that smoking marijuana during pregnancy increases the risk of giving birth before 37 weeks. This may not seem like a big deal, but pre-term birth can cause a host of complications.

A developing baby goes through important growth during the final weeks and months of pregnancy. Many organ systems, including the brain, lungs, and liver need the final weeks of pregnancy to develop fully. There is a higher risk of serious disability or death the earlier the baby is born. Some problems that a baby born too early may face include—

  • Breathing problems
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delay
  • Vision problems
  • Hearing impairment

Even women who smoke marijuana BEFORE they actually become pregnant are at a higher risk for preterm birth. This is especially crucial in the three months before conception. Women who smoked marijuana during this period increased their risk of pre-term labor by 2.3 times.

Women and Marijuana: Breastfeeding

Marijuana is excreted through the breast milk, so when you are smoking marijuana while breastfeeding, your baby is ingesting it too. In 1990, a study by suggested that exposure to THC through breast milk in the first month of life could result in decreased motor development at 1 year old. No studies have adequately addressed the effects on long-term neurodevelopment of marijuana and breastfeeding.  However, lethargy, less frequent feeding, and shorter feeding times are other observations reported after babies’ exposure to THC through breast milk.In addition, a mother’s ability to nurse and care for her child might be compromised because marijuana can affect mood and judgment. Also, environmental exposure to maternal marijuana smoke can be harmful to your baby’s lungs. Most experts recommend refraining from breastfeeding if you are smoking marijuana.






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