Using cannabis while pregnant may harm the unborn baby. Cannabis smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
Regularly smoking cannabis with tobacco increases the risk of a baby being born small or premature.
Other risks of regularly using cannabis can include:
Other risks of cannabis
Cannabis also increases the risk of a relapse in people who already have schizophrenia, and it can make psychotic symptoms worse.
If regular users stop taking cannabis, they may get withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling moody and irritable, feeling sick, difficulty sleeping, difficulty eating, sweating, shaking and diarrhoea.
A psychotic illness is one where you have hallucinations (seeing things that are not really there) and delusions (believing things that are not really true).
Read the latest updates on cannabis, cannabinoids and cancer – the evidence so far on the Cancer Research UK website.
Least controversial is the extract from the hemp plant known as CBD (which stands for cannabidiol) because this component of marijuana has little, if any, intoxicating properties. Marijuana itself has more than 100 active components. THC (which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical that causes the “high” that goes along with marijuana consumption. CBD-dominant strains have little or no THC, so patients report very little if any alteration in consciousness.
There are few subjects that can stir up stronger emotions among doctors, scientists, researchers, policy makers, and the public than medical marijuana. Is it safe? Should it be legal? Decriminalized? Has its effectiveness been proven? What conditions is it useful for? Is it addictive? How do we keep it out of the hands of teenagers? Is it really the “wonder drug” that people claim it is? Is medical marijuana just a ploy to legalize marijuana in general?
Marijuana without the high
In particular, marijuana appears to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain in general. This is an area where few other options exist, and those that do, such as Neurontin, Lyrica, or opiates are highly sedating. Patients claim that marijuana allows them to resume their previous activities without feeling completely out of it and disengaged.
Marijuana is currently legal, on the state level, in 29 states, and in Washington, DC. It is still illegal from the federal government’s perspective. The Obama administration did not make prosecuting medical marijuana even a minor priority. President Donald Trump promised not to interfere with people who use medical marijuana, though his administration is currently threatening to reverse this policy. About 85% of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, and it is estimated that at least several million Americans currently use it.
My advice for patients is to be entirely open and honest with your physicians and to have high expectations of them. Tell them that you consider this to be part of your care and that you expect them to be educated about it, and to be able to at least point you in the direction of the information you need.