Jun 022011
 June 2, 2011

Marijuana PregnantBy Janelle Stone

It’s almost too taboo to discuss: pregnant women smoking marijuana. It’s a dirty little secret for women, particularly during the harrowing first trimester, who turn to cannabis for relief from nausea and stress.

If you were to inquire about pot and pregnancy on the Web, Baby Center offers a strongly worded warning from Gerald Briggs, pharmacist clinical specialist.

Briggs says that pot affects the baby’s growth and development and–gasp!–may even cause childhood leukemia. But there are no facts or studies attributed to back up the claims.

More than 50 pages of comments were posted to the site about Briggs’ statements. Some proclaimed the virtues of smoking marijuana while pregnant, offering proof of healthy children and stories of functioning during pregnancy thanks to cannabis. Other comments viciously showed disdain for pregnant patients, resorting to name-calling.

jamaica marijuanaPregnant women in Jamaica use marijuana regularly to relieve nausea, as well as to relieve stress and depression, often in the form of a tea or tonic. In the late 1960s, grad student Melanie Dreher was chosen by her professors to perform an ethnographic study on marijuana use in Jamaica to observe and document its usage and its consequences among pregnant women.

Dreher studied 24 Jamaican infants exposed to marijuana prenatally and 20 infants that were not exposed. Her work evolved into the book Women and Cannabis: Medicine, Science and Sociology, part of which included her field studies.

Most North American studies have shown marijuana use can cause birth defects and developmental problems.

Those studies did not isolate marijuana use, however, lumping cannabis with more destructive substances ranging from alcohol and tobacco to meth and heroin.

In Jamaica, Dreher found a culture that policed its own ganja intake and considers its use spiritual. For the herb’s impact when used during pregnancy, she handed over reports utilizing the Brazelton Scale, the highly recognized neonatal behavioral assessment that evaluates behavior.

The profile identifies the baby’s strengths, adaptive responses and possible vulnerabilities. The researchers continued to evaluate the children from the study up to 5 years old. The results showed no negative impact on the children, on the contrary they seemed to excel.

Marijuana BrainPlenty of people did not like that answer, particularly her funders, the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They did not continue to flip the bill for the study and did not readily release its results.

“March of Dimes was supportive,” Dreher says. “But it was clear that NIDA was not interested in continuing to fund a study that didn’t produce negative results. I was told not to resubmit. We missed an opportunity to follow the study through adolescence and through adulthood.”

Now dean of nursing at Rush University with degrees in nursing, anthropology and philosophy, plus a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University, Dreher did not have experience with marijuana before she shipped off for Jamaica.

The now-marijuana advocate says that Raphael Mechoulam, the first person to isolate THC, should win a Pulitzer. Still, she understands that medical professionals shy from doing anything that might damage any support of their professionalism, despite marijuana’s proven medicinal effects, particularly for pregnant women.


Dr. Melanie Dreher’s study isn’t the first time Jamaican ganja smoking was subjected to scientific study. One of the most exhausting studies is Ganja in Jamaica–A Medical Anthropological Study of Chronic Marijuana Use by Vera Rubin and Lambros Comitas, published in 1975. Unfortunately for the National Institute of Mental Health’s Center for Studies of Narcotic and Drug Abuse, the medical anthropological study concluded: “Despite its illegality, ganja use is pervasive, and duration and frequency are very high; it is smoked over a longer period in heavier quantities with greater THC potency than in the U.S. without deleterious social or psychological consequences [our emphasis].”

Article From Culture Magazine

About Jay Smoker

I have been smoking marijuana for almost twenty years and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. My life was turned upside down in 2009 after getting arrested and tossed in jail for being in the wrong state with legal medical marijuana. I got fed up, and I now devote all my time to ending this insanity.I am responsible for the technical side of this project, but try to chip in when I can, either with syndicated articles or original content.Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.Feel free to email. any questions or concerns. Peace!
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  • Mysticmoon

    I have a question, I currently had my baby and I didnt smoke during pregnacy, but after I had my baby my anxiety got worse, I am breastfeeding and just want some insight on whether its bad for my baby if I take a hit now and then to ease my anxiety.

    • Michael Miller

      It won’t affect your child one bit. I hope you used the herb, and not some pharmaceutical they prescribed. Mother’s milk has endogenous cannabinoids in it. All the fear mongering you’ve heard about this plant over the years is not true. None of it is.

  • Beth Serrano

    Smoking weed helps with my nausea. I live in Washington state and I’m afraid the baby could get taken away because i smoke. Any thoughts

    • cheech

      I thought the same thing. I’m in ga I was so scared. But I was ok they didn’t take him I smoked all the way until the night before because I was so nervous. Anyways my child was born 7lbs 4oz and health nothings wrong he’s a month now and he is the sweetest baby he only cries when he’s hungry and he sleeps good through the night. Idk what y’all laws are but I was nervous for no reason.

    • Debi Word

      Please reveiw the artical below Katie is my daughter n law. She will be going to court next Friday Oct 16, 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/…/alabama-chemical-endangerment.

  • Katya

    Greetings, Ladies! I’m from Russia and the situation here is pretty sad, since even the medical aspect of marijuana is ignored and people are often misinformed and scared. I’m currently pregnant, before my pregnancy I used to smoke regularly about 2 joints per day, right now I try to avoid smoking but as weak as it may sound I have difficulties dealing with the stress and yet ofcourse I worry about my baby’s wellbeing. Could you please give me some advice pr maybe clear out what would be best – possibly recommend a certain strain, a recipe (I heard jamaican women make tea) or just share your experience! Thank you!

  • nathan

    This is ridiculous. A study of only 44 mothers is not nearly large enough to produce any scientifically verifiable results. And, the women who used marijuana were mainly getting it through an herbal tea, not by smoking it. Smoking anything cuts off oxygen to a developing fetus and increases the chance of miscarriage and birth defects. If you can’t stop smoking for 9 months to avoid any unnecessary risk to your baby, you have a serious problem.

    • Tasha

      Mothers breastmilk is loaded with Cannabinoids…How could cannabis be harmful in anyway? Historically, it was prescribed in the Hospitals for Laboring Women. Cannabis was also prescribed as an Anti-emetic, anti nausea for Hyperemesis Graviduim, before 1937 and still to this day. Stop with the fear mongering.

    • Chica

      No one is thinking smoking cannabis is best way for pregnant mom. We have oils,extracts, and edibles. Anyone telling mothers flowers are bad and illegal and prescriptions of pharmacology chemicals are good for you are stupid or towing someone elses line.

  • Taren

    Is so lovely to hear that most of the women commenting delivered beautiful healthy babies. But what about the women who delivered not so healthy babies after smoking MJ during their pregnancies. Since when is depriving an unborn child of O2 good? A friend of mine smoked her entire pregnancy and went into early labor. She swore up and down that her child would not be affected my MJ. The poor baby was diagnosed with cerebral palsy because of the early labor and lack of oxygen. Maybe if she didn’t smoke that wouldn’t have made a difference but imagine having to live the with the guilt of injuring your child because you cannot stop this disgusting habit. Think twice ladies, because your baby is counting on you.

  • Kara Mcmahon

    I smoked with all my pregnancies the 1st I smoked more than the last 2 being that I was constantly sick, lost a lot of weight from being sick, yet it did not harm my son. He is now 16 almost 17 very intelligent and very athletic. I did go into early labor, yet my ob found that he was so active early in my pregnancy that he had gotten tied up in the umbilical cord, it was wrapped around his neck twice. He was delivered via c-section a healthy 6lbs 12oz 19 1/2 inches long. Other than that I had no problems after the sickness went away. He is actually the more intelligent of my 3 boys which I did nothing different with him or my other 2. Actually my youngest was read too more than my oldest 2. I had health problems with my other pregnancies yet I barely smoked at all with them I had high blood pressure with my 2nd pregnancy and toxemia with my youngest. I believe that marijuana has no bad side effects being that the plant is a healing plant. It has cancer healing properties, a pain reliever , antisiezure, and much much more. All through time there has been someone downing natural medicines and I believe that is all the debate has been since it was dubbed illegal years ago.I would not do anything different and definitely would not take a man made chemical medication for nausea while pregnant. And some woman no matter what they may do or not do are subseptible to a child having health problems especially with all the chemicals in all our foods and the things around us now days!!!!

  • disqus_H9KOKa4zjg

    My son is now 8… My wife smoked the whole pregnancy. The doctor said it was the most beautiful placenta she had ever seen. Now he is 8 and in school he is in the accelerated learning program and learning Spanish. He is one of the best behaved and one of the top students in his class. I thought children were dumb and easily fooled…well maybe I was…but my son is a genius and he never forgets anything it’s so god damn annoying.

  • Ryan Castleberry

    Lol well if anyone is wondering why there are more and more stupid people in the world….