Is using marijuana good or bad for you, especially if you’re pregnant?

In a study published last year, researchers found that 70% of both pregnant and non-pregnant women believe there is slight or no risk of harm from using marijuana once or twice a week. The study concluded that about 1 in 10 women used marijuana during the course of their pregnancy. But, is pot truly harmless?

Several different studies indicate prenatal marijuana use affects developing children. For example, according to a report released in June 2000, prenatal marijuana exposure has an effect on child behavior problems at age 10, and another study indicates a link between a mother’s marijuana use during pregnancy and depression in her children.

Marijuana Movement

Marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes in 25 states plus the District of Columbia. Wyoming’s neighboring states of Colorado and Montana legalized pot for medicinal purposes (although there is an effort to repeal Montana’s law). There is a medical marijuana movement in Wyoming, and though some bills have been briefly considered by the state legislature, nothing has been enacted. The issue may be taken up again in a forthcoming legislative session.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. A study published by The Journal of Adolescent Health reported that substance use among teens is actually declining—with the exception of marijuana, which now exceeds even cigarette use among adolescents. A separate study conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research indicated that one-third of female college students used marijuana over the course of the academic school year in 2013.

Marijuana Side-effects

Marijuana has long-term and short-term effects on the brain, including changes in mood, impaired memory, and can affect learning and brain development in youth, including loss of IQ. Using marijuana can also impact a person’s breathing and heart.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are many risks and side-effects to the unborn of a pregnant woman who uses marijuana, including increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies. As a child grows, s/he may experience problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving.

So, are there risks and side-effects to using marijuana during pregnancy? Studies show yes, there is, for both the person using the drug and to children of pregnant women.