Can You Smoke Weed While Pregnant?

Can You Smoke Weed While Pregnant?

Last Updated: December 12, 2022

Jump to Section

You should not smoke weed while you are pregnant, according to the ​​American Academy of Pediatrics. Any amount of weed has the potential to be harmful to a pregnant mother or her baby, and there is no good reason to smoke weed while pregnant.

What Does Marijuana Do to You? 

Marijuana, or weed, acts on cannabinoid receptors in your brain, which stimulates the release of endorphins and alters how you experience sensations. The effect of marijuana on the brain can slow development in children or teenagers, but it can also lead to addiction in people of any age.

In addition to the effects that people use marijuana to experience, there are many long-term health problems that marijuana can create. The potential health effects of marijuana include:

  • Mental health problems
  • Poisoning
  • Memory problems
  • Increased risk of injury from a car accident
  • Lung problems
  • Addiction
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of vascular disease

Widespread marijuana use is a newer phenomenon, and stronger, more concentrated forms are still being developed. New effects of marijuana are likely to be discovered as its use continues to grow.

Can Pregnant Women Smoke Marijuana?

Pregnant women should not smoke marijuana. There are many different risks when marijuana is used during pregnancy, even when it is used in ways other than smoking. The chemicals in marijuana, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can have negative impacts on the health of a mother and the child she is carrying.

Does THC Cross the Placenta? 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes the drug’s addictive effects and creates a high. THC does cross the placenta and can enter the bloodstream of the fetus. This causes THC to affect the developing baby, creating effects that could be potentially harmful to the child’s development.

What Happens if You Smoke Marijuana While Pregnant? 

There are several potential negative effects of using marijuana while pregnant. Using marijuana can result in the pregnancy not being viable, or it can result in complications and long-term problems that affect the baby’s health.

Preterm Labor

Preterm labor occurs when labor begins before the pregnancy is full-term; typically, it describes labor that begins before 38 weeks of pregnancy. This decreases the time that a baby has to develop in the womb and makes it harder for the baby to adjust to life outside of the womb. While being a couple of weeks early does not usually have a huge impact on the child’s health, premature labor can significantly decrease the chances of survival for the infant if it occurs too early in the pregnancy.

Improper Brain Development in Fetus 

The effects marijuana has on the brain development of a fetus are still not fully understood. However, there is evidence that THC use during pregnancy can lead to children that have:

  • Decreased attention
  • Memory problems
  • Poor problem-solving skills
  • Lower IQ
  • Autism
  • Behavioral problems

As more potent forms of THC become available, our understanding of the long-term effects of marijuana on fetal development is likely to expand. 

Miscarriage in Early Pregnancy

There are no human studies that show that using marijuana during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage. However, this may be due more to the difficulty of studying the topic than the absence of danger. Studies on animals show that marijuana increases the risk of miscarriage during pregnancy. While it is ethically impossible to do similar studies on humans, this research does indicate that women who smoke weed during pregnancy may be at a higher risk of miscarriage.

Research into how marijuana use by pregnant women affects the risk of miscarriage is still ongoing. However, there is research showing that the partners of men who smoke weed are more likely to have miscarriages in children they conceive together. The marijuana use of a woman’s intimate partner is an important consideration for the risk of miscarriage. 

How Long Does THC Stay in an Unborn Baby’s System?

THC is known to stay detectable in people’s systems for long periods of time. This is partially due to its long half-life and the way it is absorbed by fat tissues. Infants will have detectable levels of THC in their urine for up to five weeks after they are exposed to THC.

When Can I Resume Smoking Marijuana?

For your child’s health, you should ideally not resume smoking marijuana. Smoking marijuana can have a negative impact on the health of your child in two different ways once they are born. It can cross over into breast milk, causing significant THC exposure. It can also create secondhand smoke that exposes your child to marijuana, even if you are not breastfeeding.

Marijuana and Breastfeeding

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women who are breastfeeding do not use marijuana or any marijuana-related products. The CDC even recommends that breastfeeding mothers do not use products that only contain cannabidiol (CBD). Marijuana products have been shown to pass into breast milk, potentially affecting the baby.

FAQs on Marijuana and Pregnancy 

Can You Eat Edibles While Pregnant? 

You should not eat edibles containing marijuana while pregnant. Regardless of how you use marijuana, it can still affect your pregnancy. Some people may choose to use edibles after their child is born and they are done breastfeeding, as it reduces their child’s exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke.

Can Marijuana Affect Your Pregnancy Test Results?

Marijuana will not affect your pregnancy test results. The chemicals in marijuana are very different from those being tested for in a pregnancy test, and neither test is likely to change the results of the other.

Can the Smell of Marijuana Harm My Pregnancy? 

The fumes of secondhand marijuana smoke can result in exposure to the chemicals of marijuana. This can be harmful to your developing fetus if you are pregnant. While the impact of secondhand marijuana smoke is less than smoking it yourself, it can still have an effect on you.

Does Marijuana Help With Nausea While Pregnant?

Marijuana should not be used to help with nausea while pregnant. There is some evidence that suggests marijuana may reduce nausea for some people. However, the risks to your pregnancy are high when compared to the possible benefit that marijuana could provide. This makes it unwise to use marijuana for pregnancy-related nausea.

Can You Get Your Medical Card While Pregnant? 

The ability to get a medical marijuana card while pregnant will vary based on the state that you are in and the doctor who evaluates you. However, getting a medical card does not reduce any of the risks that marijuana creates during pregnancy. It is unwise to use marijuana during pregnancy, regardless of whether you have a medical card or not.

Is It Illegal to Smoke While Pregnant?

The legality of smoking weed while pregnant is very tricky. At a federal level, using marijuana is illegal whether you are pregnant or not. However, the federal government is not enforcing these laws. At a state and local level, the legality varies significantly. One issue is whether using marijuana is legal in the area where you live. Another is if using marijuana during or after pregnancy would be considered endangering the health of your child.

Marijuana laws are also in a constant state of flux, as new laws and rulings occur regularly. This can lead to changes that quickly alter what is considered legal. Ultimately, you should consult with a lawyer if you have any questions about the legality of marijuana use where you live.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment in Columbus, OH

Marijuana can be addictive, making it difficult to quit the drug as you prepare for a new child. At The Recovery Village Columbus Drug and Alcohol Rehab, we know how difficult it can be to stop marijuana and what it takes to succeed.

We offer medical detox treatment as well as rehab programs that equip you for long-term success in recovery. Contact us today to speak with a knowledgeable representative and begin your journey toward a healthier, marijuana-free future.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.