With marijuana now legal for medical or recreational use in half of the country, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges women to avoid the drug while pregnant or nursing because of its potential effects on a developing brain. Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona.
The clinical report, “Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Implications for Neonatal and Childhood Outcomes,” in the September issue of “Pediatrics,” shows marijuana use among pregnant women increased from 2.3 percent in 2002 to 3.84 percent in 2014 — a 67 percent increase nationally.
“As pediatricians, we believe there is cause to be concerned about how the drug will impact the long-term development of children,” says Dr. Sheryl A. Ryan, a lead author of the report, who notes stories swirling on social media are pushing marijuana as a harmless antidote to morning sickness. The THC chemical in marijuana is known to readily cross the placenta and can be found in breastmilk up to six days after.
“Many of these effects may not show up right away, but they can impact how well a child can maneuver in the world,” Ryan says. “Children’s and teens’ cognitive ability to manage their time and school work might be harmed down the line from marijuana use during their mother’s pregnancy.”