The use of marijuana during pregnancy is a controversial subject, even amongst the most harden proponents of cannabis.
Despite a lack of research, more and more women are using different forms of cannabis to help with different issues they experience during their pregnancy.
One of those issues cannabis it’s used for is morning sickness. In fact, a recent study showed women who experienced extreme bouts of nausea and vomiting during their first trimester were four times more likely to use marijuana.
Today, we are looking at if it’s safe to start your morning with a little wake-and-bake session to help stifle the morning sickness.
Forms of Cannabis
If you want to use cannabis during your pregnancy, you need to brush up on your knowledge of it as some forms show they might be dangerous for pregnant women while others forms show they might be safe. So let’s do some brushing up.
There are two main forms of cannabis: marijuana and hemp, and both have very different effects on pregnancy.
Marijuana is the intoxicating form of cannabis because it contains higher levels of THC — a phytocannabinoid that occurs in all cannabis plants and causes an intoxicating high when the body receives enough.
Hemp naturally doesn’t contain a lot of THC, and with selective breeding, we created industrial hemp that contains no more than 0.3% THC where marijuana typically has been 15-30% THC.
Industrial hemp plants have also been bred to contain high levels of CBD, where marijuana only has low levels.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid like THC, but it can never cause a high no matter how much you take. Most CBD products are taken from industrial hemp as such.
It’s important to note that all cannabis plants contain over 100 different phytocannabinoids, but for the most part, THC is only the intoxicating one.
How Cannabis Works In the Body
Phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD work by interacting with different receptors, that when triggered commute to the cells they reside on to undertake a certain function.
Phytocannabinoids do this because we create our own versions (endocannabinoids) to trigger the same receptors. Research shows that when a receptor is triggered by either a phytocannabinoid or endocannabinoid, it tells cells to carry out regulatory functions.
THC can trigger CB1 receptors more aggressively than an endocannabinoid can, and this over-activation results in us feeling high.
CBD, on the other hand, can block THC from attaching to CB1 receptors and can trigger the activation of CB2 receptors along with a few others like serotonin receptors.
CBD doesn’t over-activate any of the receptors like THC, so its effects feel intangible because it simply triggers normal everyday regulatory functions to the same degree endocannabinoids do.
In other words, while you may feel better taking CBD it won’t make you feel abnormal. In fact, some say taking CBD helps them feel normal. This is likely due to deficient endocannabinoid levels in the body that can lead to poor heath in many different ways.
Cannabis and Morning Sickness
Both THC and CBD can help with morning sickness.
THC over-activation of CB1 receptors is great at eliminating nausea and vomiting because CB1 receptors suppress those functions in the body.
As well, CB1 receptors play a big role in actively promoting hunger, and stopping issues like nausea that get in the way of that so it works to make sure that doesn’t happen.
CBD, on the other hand, will trigger receptors that only stabilize and balance nausea and vomiting, which weakens our reaction to them but not like THC.
However, there are a few big reasons you want CBD over THC.
CBD helps the body act and regulate in a natural fashion, and while there are many causes of morning sickness, the big one in the first trimester is due to hormonal imbalance.
Bringing balance and stability to the body is CBD’s specialty. But that’s not the only reason you don’t want THC during pregnancy . . .
What Are The Risks
The biggest concern with cannabis and pregnancy and its use for morning sickness is concerns over THC’s ability to affect the baby’s brain.
CB1 receptors are predominantly found in the brain, where receptors CBD activates are mostly found in other parts of the body.
There is a lack of research on both THC and CBD’s effects of pregnancy, but we do know a few things.
Most studies look at THC, and while some show it doesn’t appear to affect the fetus, others like a recent one in 2018, showed that synthetic THC may have an effect on developing brains. There are also older studies that show mothers who smoke marijuana during their pregnancy give birth to children with behavioral problems.
However, much or none of it could be due to causation as marijuana abuse is higher among those who have behavioral issues themselves.
Studies on CBD and its role on the health of a fetus are even less common, but so far it’s looking like CBD does not affect a fetus’ health in either a positive or negative way.
We can not say whether the use of any cannabis product is safe for relieving morning sickness as there just aren’t enough studies.
If you have to use a form, it’s likely much safer to use a CBD or hemp product with little to no THC.
However, before you use CBD to do that, please consult your doctor because CBD can cause side effects and is known to interact with certain medication.