Marijuana Use for Extreme Morning Sickness and Weight Loss

Patient: I am currently 8 weeks pregnant with our first child. Starting at week 5, I have been experiencing extreme morning sickness– nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, etc. As a result, I am continually losing weight (I was 5’4- 120 lbs when I got pregnant, and I have lost at least 10 lbs in the last 3 weeks). It is getting to the point where I am growing very concerned that I am not providing my unborn child adequate nutrition– eating far under what my body burns in a day. On the best days, I might be able to stomach 700 calories. When I do eat my food choices are healthy (mainly fruits, yogurt, milk, and nuts).Not only am I experiencing weight loss–but the lack of nutrition has only worsened the other symptoms associated with first trimester morning sickness. I have read about the negative effects malnutrition can have on my unborn child, and I want to do everything I can to ensure our baby is born healthy. Obviously, marijuana is not usually recommended for pregnancy. However, I absolutely refuse to take a prescription medication to combat my inability to eat anything and I have tried other natural remedies such as ginger and teas– nothing works. My question is: is marijuana at all safe to use in extremely low amounts (less than once a day) during the first trimester to combat nausea and food aversion? I live in Washington state, where it is legal and I have read it is extremely helpful for cancer and AIDS patients in relieving nausea. This question is an absolute last resort, I do NOT want to regularly rely on marijuana for nausea while I am pregnant. I just REALLY need help getting an appetite back and I am feeling really helpless as of now.


Symptoms: Morning sickness– all day nausea, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, increased heart rate and shortness of breath at the smallest amount of activity (and I exercised at least 5 times a week, over an hour a day before pregnancy up until I hit 5 weeks)

Doctor: I can understand that you are really struggling with your pregnancy induced nausea vomiting and food aversions. Marijuan a smoking is in no way going to help you deal with that and unfortunately you have got the facts all wrong about marijuana.Smoking marijuana is one of the most harmful things one can do to unborn babies. Smoking marijuana can cause a woman to miscarry and may cause preterm birth, bleeding, fetal death and fetal strokes, which can lead to brain damage and death.After birth, a baby who has been exposed to marijuana prenatally may go through withdrawal, signs of which include jitters and irritability. Smoking marijuana can affect the amount of oxygen and nutrients the baby receives from the mother’s placenta, which may affect growth of the baby. In addition, marijuana can have long-term effects on infants and children, such as having learning disabilities, delayed milestones etc.Marijuana smoked by a pregnant woman remains in the baby’s fat cells for seven to 30 days and is therefore detectable is the postnatatal tests. If there has been any use of marijuana during pregnancy it is highly advisable that the health care provider, doctor or midwife be informed about the same. All necessary arrangements to manage the baby and the pregnancy need to be made in advance in anticipation of any possible complications arising out of the substance abuse.As regards to the nausea-vomiting and food aversions if you consult an obstetrician regarding the same, he/she will put you on certain anti-emetic medication that will be safe for you and the baby and make you feel better. You could also try visiting a dietician or a nutritionist and get counselled about food habits that will help you tide over the crisis. Do not let the morning sickness be an excuse to smoke marijuana as it will only end up harming you and your baby.


Ask The Doctor
Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

Dr. Suneel Sharman completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Toronto. He currently operates Infinity Health Centre, a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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