When women are pregnant, they are susceptible to having pregnancy-related sickness and nausea.
It is very common for pregnant women to have pregnancy sickness, however there’s a rare chronic condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, where women will suffer from chronic nausea and vomiting that ends up hospitalizing them.
This condition deprives the baby from receiving essential nutrients and vitamins it needs to grow in the womb. Now, many mothers are researching cannabis and its effects on the condition, and experimenting with it.
Women are using cannabis for a rare pregnancy condition
Dr. Nora Valkow, director of the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) wrote an op-ed earlier this year, warning pregnant women that cannabis isn’t what it seems. In the op-ed, she criticizes the cannabis blogs that spout off how cannabis heals medical illnesses, writing that, “Some sources on the internet are touting marijuana as a solution for the nausea that commonly accompanies pregnancy
, including the severe condition hyperemesis gravidarum.
Although research on the prevalence of marijuana use by pregnant women is limited, some data suggest that this population is turning to marijuana for its anti-emetic properties, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy, which is the greatest period of risk for the deleterious effect of drug exposure to the fetus.”
NIDA is concerned as mothers are becoming so open about their use of cannabis to control feelings of nausea during pregnancy. Many mothers are defying doctors advice and using cannabis for serious medical issues such as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe form of morning sickness that leads to symptoms like weight loss, vomiting, intense nausea and imbalance of electrolytes. In much worse cases, it leads to intravenous nutrition and hospitalization.
A woman, renamed Jessica by author Fernando Hurtado, wrote a post for Circa about her experience with cannabis, learning about it and using it for treating her hyperemisis gravidarum. Jessica experienced vomiting spells over 12 times in just a day. She says, “Usually about 10 to 15 times a day was the average. It caused me to be hospitalized, I would have to have home healthcare with IVs.”
Living in California, Jessica was able to receive medical advice from her doctor than read it in a cannabis blog. Cannabis was an option in all three of her pregnancies. The mother-to-be was surprised, “I was a little shocked. We were just kind of at a standstill with what else we can try out there.”
Women sharing with women
Circa conducted an investigation into a closed group on Facebook fro women who have hyperemesis gravidarum. The group isn’t essentially for medical cannabis users, but many women do recount their experiences with cannabis to treat their illnesses. The Facebook group has well over 9,800 members. Circa reported that there was one woman who contemplated abortion out of desperation to ease symptoms until she tried cannabis.
Another story comes from a mother and schoolteacher who was scared to have her child taken from her custody when she was using cannabis while pregnant. Many mothers are worried about losing their babies when they are using medical cannabis, as child protective services gets involved when there’s a presence of illegal drugs in the mother/child. In Wyoming, state legislators introduced HB 215 that would make it illegal for women to use drugs during their pregnancy. So, when a fetus dies from a prenatal vitamin, a mother could face 10 years in prison.
However, the risks behind prenatal cannabis use isn’t fully understand yet. Current research has been very contradicting and biased. Every single mother is worried about their babies health and moms like Jessica, feel medical cannabis can help with pregnancy sickness and come with no side effects. Jessica told Circa, “It’s funny because when you see my kids now, and they’re all ahead of the curve. They’re ahead of their milestones.”
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