Mum defends decision to smoke medical marijuana while pregnant

A mum taking medical marijuana while pregnant has defended her decision, saying plant medicine is keeping her and her unborn baby alive.

Clarissa Morales, 21, explained that she was prescribed medicinal cannabis by her healthcare provider before falling pregnant to treat her mental health problems and pain from an existing back fracture.

While she did stop smoking when she was pregnant with her first child, now 13 months, the full-time mother later began using infused edibles when her mental health deteriorated.

After finding out she was having a second baby, however, she started to suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and experienced severe nausea and vomiting. As a result, she could only consume cannabis by smoking, which she found kept helped with her queasiness as well as her mood.

Clarissa, who is now around 32 weeks pregnant, said that although in an ideal world she wouldn’t smoke while expecting, she believes that treating her existing ailments and morning sickness is ultimately worth potential dangers.

But her lifestyle has caused shockwaves of controversy online, where she’s been slammed for putting her baby’s health at risk. Clarissa has even had TikTok pages taken down for discussing the topic and breaking community guidelines.

Defending her choices, she said: ‘I had to think about what method was going to work best and fastest. I had to really weigh the risk versus reward benefit, and there was more reward than anything.

‘It’s not something that I enjoy doing, but what’s the other option, I’m throwing up in a hospital?’

Clarissa, who lives in New Jersey, USA, explained she was prescribed medical marijuana prior to pregnancy for her mental health and for back fracture pain.

She saw an instant improvement in terms of pain, and felt her head was ‘finally clear for the first time’.

‘I initially stopped with my first pregnancy,’ the mum recalled.

‘I stopped for around three weeks. But my mental health soon deteriorated – it got really bad.

‘With my morning sickness, I was throwing up all the time and it included blood. I was tearing up my oesophagus. Cannabis was the only thing that kept the nausea at bay.’

Clarissa says she ‘looked at various studies like neurodevelopmental outcomes after prenatal marijuana exposure,’ and tried a range of other methods, but after nothing worked she decided to begin smoking again (although she kept her usage to a minimum).

Having previously suffered from miscarriages, she believed cannabis – which is legal for medical use but considered a Class B drug when used without prescription in the UK – helped her to safely bring her daughter into the world, as she had never kept a pregnancy for so long.

‘I like to refer to it as plant medicine because that’s what it is. It’s something that I take to help my ailments,’ said Clarissa.

‘It’s very stigmatised. I’ve lost countless TikTok accounts for just talking about it. People put medicinal users along with recreational users, which is very frustrating because I’m not doing it for fun.’

Clarissa also added that she is currently doing well and her baby is progressing as expected.

She said: ‘My baby is growing. They are measuring on time, and the anatomy scan went great.’

When asked if her marijuana usage affected her daughter, she claimed that while she was born at a low birth weight, her severe morning sickness was responsible.

Clarissa said: ‘She was born weighing 5lbs 10oz at 42 weeks gestation, so she was small.

‘Doctors attributed that to the fact that I dropped like 60 pounds when I was pregnant. But she was completely healthy.

‘Now she’s 13 months old, she’s actually advanced for her age. She’s been crawling since she was four months old, and she properly started walking at 10 months.’

Clarissa is hoping that by sharing her story, she can show the thought process that led to her judgement.

But Dr Alexis Missick of UK Meds commented: ‘During pregnancy or while breastfeeding, no level of cannabis use is known to be safe.

‘Developmental disruption of a foetus has been associated with maternal marijuana usage in many published studies into marijuana exposure during pregnancy.

‘Clinical evidence highlights that cannabis usage amongst pregnant and lactating people is linked to side effects such as childhood developmental deficits and lower birth weights, as well as a smaller head circumference, a smaller size for gestational age and other birth defects.

‘There could also be a greater risk of spontaneous preterm birth in mothers who smoke cannabis during pregnancy and a higher risk of neonatal intensive care admissions.

‘Pregnant women shouldn’t make the assumption that it is safe to smoke cannabis during pregnancy until more information is available.’

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