Medical Marijuana For Morning Sickness? Some Doctors Think It'll Help Pregnant Women Relieve Severe Nausea

Photo Credit:  Chuck Grimmett, CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: Chuck Grimmett, CC BY-SA 2.0

There is currently very little knowledge surrounding the effects of medical marijuana on pregnant women and their unborn fetuses, but now some doctors are suggesting medical marijuana could help provide relief for pregnant women experiencing severe morning sickness and suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). HG is a disease that sometimes accompanies pregnancy and is marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to nausea and vomiting, and it is the leading cause for hospitalization in early pregnancy. One study published in the Hawai'i Journal of Medicine and Public Health found women who reported severe nausea during pregnancy were more likely to report use of marijuana during pregnancy than those who did not report severe nausea. Researchers say these findings point to marijuana use as an anti-emetic among those experiencing severe morning sickness.

Not all doctors recommend the use of medical marijuana for pregnant women. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, many physicians refuse to provide medical marijuana licenses to pregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) warned women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy to avoid marijuana based on the findings "endocannabinoids play key roles in normal fetal brain development," and some studies find marijuana use while pregnant could triple the risk of premature and stillbirth. That being said, while marijuana is potentially harmful to the fetus, some doctors say the risks associated with untreated HG could be worse. Dr. Anthony Anzalone, a general practitioner in New Jersey who did obstetrics for 25 years, says "on a scale from 1 to 10 [in terms of severity], [HG] is off the charts... marijuana would help tremendously." There exists potential for marijuana to help pregnant women suffering from severe morning sickness and HG, but there needs to be more in depth research surrounding the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy to ensure safety for both the mother and the fetus.

This information has been provided by Medical Daily and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.