Jan 052014
 January 5, 2014

nuva ring birth control marijuana

An eye opening article came out in Jezebel discussing the piece ran by Vanity Fair about the potentially lethal birth control Nuva Ring. According to the FDA, there is a fifty-six percent increase risk of blood clots, and that percent can climb even higher if you are a female cigarette smoker. After Ericka Lang suffered a massive heart attack -which was the direct result of using the Nuva Ring- her mother has made it her mission to inform women that labeling an “increased risk” of embolisms was a shady practice because many women might change their mind if they knew the Nuva Ring actually increased your risk of blood clots by fifty-six percent.

Startled, I couldn’t help but think about my marijuana usage in combination with the birth control I use, which of course happens to be the Nuva Ring. I wanted to know if marijuana usage affects my birth control in anyway possible. I immediately took the the internet and exhausted the Portland State University article/database and found NOTHING on the subject. There were studies on birth control and “substance abuse”, but nothing that isolated marijuana as the only factor being tested. I reached out to Dr. Mitch (High Times writer and college professor) to ask if he has encountered any research that looked at marijuana and its affect on female birth control. There was no data suggesting marijuana interferes with the pill. However, this does not mean there isn’t any affects due to a lack of information around the subject in accordance to risky birth control methods like the Nuva Ring.

This is why marijuana prohibition is wrong, immoral, and potentially life-threatening. Women could be at risk when combining certain types of hormone-based birth control (aka the Nuva Ring) when using marijuana and we don’t even know it. I’m not trying to say that women shouldn’t use marijuana if using a form of hormonal birth control, however, wouldn’t it be nice if the information was out there, just in case? The federal government is stopping necessary research from being done and women YET AGAIN, are getting the short end of the stick.

I’m sure not all women are at risk, but those that come to mind are women with heart issues. THC naturally elevates blood pressure and when combined with a potentially lethal birth control such as the Nuva Ring, the risk of heart attack or stroke could increase. Due to marijuana prohibition and the resulting stigma, many women might not be honest with their doctors about their marijuana usage in combination with hormonal birth control. In fact, it’s probably not even something that most medical professionals screen for! The intentional ignorance of the federal government is an egregious assault on women’s health. Marijuana prohibition is preventing women and health professionals from being fully informed on the risks (if any) birth control could have on women who use marijuana.

Why are women’s bodies always the final frontier of medicine? Marijuana prohibition must end so science and research can determine any potential risk to female tokers. It is unjust and unfair to punish women by excluding them from vital knowledge on their bodies, due to a lifestyle-choice that is discriminated upon by the federal government.

Whose best interest are we really looking out for? Legalize marijuana, fund research, and give women the factual answers we are entitled to.

Source: Brightside PDX

About Simone Fischer

Simone Fischer is a OMMP patient and cannabis advocate based out of Portland, OR. She graduated from Portland State University, with a BS in Women's & Gender Studies. Fischer began working for the cannabis industry after being hired on to a medical dispensary, shortly after graduation in 2013. Currently, she is a contributing editor for Ladybud Magazine and has been published in High Times and Oregon Leaf. Fischer's writing focuses on the intersections of gender, race, class and cannabis filtered through a feminist lens.
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  • Tricia Marshall

    I have no medical back ground, so I cannot back up any of my own personal experience however, Ive smoked pot since I was 13, Im 39 now, Ive taken BC pills since I was 13, and have never had any ill effects, could just be luck, but so far so good here.

  • Candace Junkin

    My tubes are tied now, but I was on birth control on and off for almost 20 years. All the while I was a heavy cannabis user. Never had any problem. And many of my friends over the years have been cannabis users and on birth control, again, without problems. So hmmmmm…..

    • Kate A

      That’s a common misconception. No one is saying that everyone who smokes weed and takes birth control will have a stroke. There’s just a further increased risk factor (potentially). Just like my dad and several other people I know have been smoking tobacco since they were kids, but they haven’t had strokes or heart attacks (yet). Meanwhile, we all know there’s a confirmed link there.

      Higher risk doesn’t mean it’ll happen to everyone, or even most people. For example, I’m making up numbers, but if 1% of nonsmokers got some disease, and 5% of smokers got it, that’s a 500% risk increase. But it’s still only 1 out of 20 smokers who get it. (Compared to 1 out of 100 nonsmokers.) So saying “I was fine” or “many of my friends are fine” isn’t significant.

      Common mistake, though. If you’re interested, read about the base rate fallacy, in which people tend to ignore general evidence in favor of specific evidence.

      • http://www.theiwcc.org Candace Junkin

        I understand the base rate fallacy very well and no one here is ignoring anything. But thanks. It’s absolutely true that almost my entire large circle and network of female friends have been/are on birth control at least 15+ years AND have been heavy cannabis users at the same time, with no problems what so ever. Thats pretty convincing general evidence to me. Not even 1 women in dozens. Knowing this, and lacking any science, you’ll have to excuse me if I want actual evidence and not “I think” or “it could” to convince me it’s a problem. That’s all. I agree that prohibition is blocking studies on cannabis, I hope things improve in that arena and will look forward to more science on this in the future.

  • Mostlycurious

    This article is great because I recently started Nuva Ring and had a heart problem due to it and was wondering if the mix indeed caused it.