• Ashley Slimak

What You Need to Know About Pregnancy and Medical Marijuana

[Source: Royal Queen Seeds]

As an increasing number of states allow both medical and recreational cannabis, usage rates among women of childbearing age continues to rise, and the use of these products before contemplated pregnancy, and during pregnancy and lactation, has become a question of concern. According to a recent survey, marijuana use among pregnant women had nearly doubled between 2002 and 2016. In response to this growing trend, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released guidance reaffirming that women contemplating pregnancy, pregnant or nursing women should avoid marijuana in any form. The benefits of medical marijuana juxtaposed against the abstention recommendations from medical experts leaves many women, pregnant or planning to become pregnant, confused about the implications of marijuana use during pregnancy.

In the U.S., nearly 70 percent of women experience nausea during pregnancy, and in some cases it can become quite severe, leading to weight loss for both the mother and the fetus. However, nausea and morning sickness as a result of pregnancy is not among the 21 qualifying conditions in the State of Ohio. And, unlike the provision in the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program prohibiting “smoking” of cannabis [1], the rules of the program are silent on the use of marijuana before, during or after pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the leading organization providing guidance on marijuana use during pregnancy, and as such, Ohio Marijuana Card does not advocate the use of cannabis products before contemplated pregnancy, during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, and advise patients to speak with their obstetrician for further advice before seeking a recommendation for medical marijuana. Questions to bring up to your obstetrician may include:

  • How safe is cannabis use while pregnant?

  • What are the risks of marijuana use for pregnant women?

  • Why do some patients use marijuana during pregnancy?

  • How can I minimize the risks of cannabis use while pregnant?

If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, please speak with your obstetrician about the use of marijuana during pregnancy and lactation.

- Dr. Frederick Slezak, OMC Medical Director

Frederick A. Slezak, MD, MBA, FACS, FASCRS, FACG graduated from The University of Akron in 1975 and attended medical school at The Ohio State University College of Medicine receiving his degree in 1978. He completed his residency in General Surgery at Akron City Hospital and a fellowship in Colon & Rectal Surgery at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois in 1984. Dr. Slezak is certified by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Colon & Rectal Surgery. In 2013, he received his Executive Healthcare MBA from Kent State University. From 1984 until June 2019, he practiced in the field of colon and rectal surgery in Akron, Ohio. Over the years, he has been elected by his peers for inclusion in Best Doctors in America® for 1998 to 2010 and 2013 to 2017. Dr. Slezak is certified by the State of Ohio to recommend medical marijuana.

[1] Ohio Administrative Code3796:8-2-01-B and Ohio Revised Code3796.06(B)(1)

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