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A Taboo Topic: Pregnancy and Cannabis

Feb 10, 2016 10:05AM ● By Christina Odette

An audience of nurses, midwifes and doctors filled Green Labs in Denver’s Rino district on February 2 to listen to the Associate Dean of Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Cannabis Pharmacokinetics Expert Dr. Laura Bogelt’s talk on Cannabis and Pregnancy. Presented by Cannabis Clinicians Colorado, Marijuana for Medical Professionals and sponsor Enigami Systems Inc. it was an evening of deep discussion on a pervasively taboo topic.

The average, healthy pregnant woman and fetus was the frame of context for the lecture. Unfortunately the data that she and other doctors have to refer to is murky with other variables. The only studies conducted have been on mothers who abuse cannabis and other drugs, like alcohol.

The moderate levels of evidence available summons the need for more specific case studies especially in places like Colorado where mothers have the choice to either take a prescription for their morning sickness or take a puff. These future studies will have to be managed over a minimum of a fifteen-year period in order to determine if and how cannabis effects them long term.

What Dr. Bogelt could address with certainty was the fetus brain. CB1 receptors are located in the central nervous system and are activated by cannabinoids like THC.  

Infants, Dr. Bogelts explains, “have more CB1 receptors than the adult brain, which could potentially be disruptive to the fetus development. “ An important time for the endocannabinoid system is 14-19 weeks into gestation as this is when it develops.

“Marijuana is like a sledge hammer to that system,” Dr. Bogelt continued. It should be noted however that doctors advise an expectant mother to not take ibuprofen after week 27.

Cannabis is like any other drug. It has potential risks and benefits. The responsibility is up to the patient to decide what is best for them and their baby.

“We do not have a fetal marijuana syndrome,” said Dr. Bogelt. She continued that she believes dosages will matter.