Are There Risks Involved With Eating Edibles While Pregnant?

Pregnant women across the country turn to edibles to overcome the pains associated with pregnancy, but is it good for the baby? Research on whether or not this behavior is harmful to the baby is still inconclusive.

Eating Edibles While Pregnant: The Highlights

  • Even though marijuana remains illegal in many states, pregnant women consume edibles to overcome their pains.
  • Cannabis and hemp derived edibles have been linked to multiple health benefits.
  • The research on marijuana and pregnancy is confusing and incomplete.
  • CBD edibles do not contain THC so they are not psychoactive.
  • Even though CBD edibles do not get you high, there is not enough research on CBD to determine whether it’s safe during pregnancy or not.

Eating Edibles While Pregnant: A Short Overview

Marijuana use is one of the most contentious issues in the United States today. Currently, marijuana remains illegal in the majority of states and is a subject with a wide disparity of opinions on its use.

Stigmatized by countless people as a drug that no responsible citizen should use, marijuana and its alternative forms are trumpeted by just as many people as a harmless form of natural relief for everything from anxiety to sciatica.

There is no clear-cut collective opinion by the American populace on the use of marijuana and its various incarnations, such as edibles.

Just as contentious as general opinions about the use of and legality of marijuana are the subject of pregnant women nibbling away on tasty marijuana-infused edibles to alleviate severe pregnancy symptoms or using natural cannabis oil in their beauty regimes.

Pregnant Woman

Opinions on the ingestion of edibles or anything cannabis-related by pregnant women can bring about downright outrage, or conversely a supportive, agreeable attitude that edibles are a harmless and effective way to mitigate pregnancy symptoms.

Consider the fact that cannabis essential oil provides important health benefits and the ability to protect your skin, reduce stress and anxiety, improve the quality of sleep, boost appetite, optimize digestion, reduce pain, prevent certain cancers, and protect heart health.

While cannabis oil has been used for thousands of years as beneficial essential oil and is to this day to be one of the efficacious oils bringing relief to a plethora of medical conditions and illnesses, its use still remains highly contentious across the globe.

Cannabis, as well as hemp, have long been held in public view as implicitly associated with marijuana and thus hold the distinction as illicit drugs.

Pregnant women, in particular, can be subject to scorn, ridicule, and can even be reported to the police for using cannabis oil or ingesting edibles. Depending on the state she lives in and the culture surrounding marijuana, pregnant women can potentially break the law by using either of the products.

As it is now, the research on marijuana use during pregnancy is largely confusing and far from being completely understood. Thus, it will likely be years before there is a collective and cohesive understanding of how marijuana affects pregnancy.

With no clear-cut answer readily available, the best a pregnant woman can do is read and research her way to making a decision on what’s best for her baby and her body.


In their article titled“Consuming Marijuana During Pregnancy Does Not Make A Mother Unfit,” Forbes cited a 1994 study conducted by the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale to compare twenty-four Jamaican women who had used marijuana during their pregnancies in comparison to twenty women who did not.

At three days after birth, there was no marked difference between the babies born from either set of mothers. At the one-month mark, the babies of the mothers who had used marijuana during their pregnancies actually fared better in many ways in terms of development, alertness, and self-regulation. 


Newsweek published an article titled“Cannabis: Pregnant Women are Using More Marijuana Posing Unknown Danger to Babies,” discussing the effects of cannabis on babies in the womb and concluding that lower birth weights were especially prevalent in newborns who had been exposed to THC.

Newsweek also brought up the point about how the use of cannabis in the first month of pregnancy can often increase the likelihood of a very rare birth defect called anencephaly. It’s important to note, however, that the committee who conducted the research readily admitted there could have been confounding factors at play that may have contributed to the elevated risk. 

UCLA Medical School

UCLA Medical School

UCLA’s recent article “Looking for relief, pregnant women turn to marijuana despite medical advice,” takes the firm viewpoint that marijuana or any of its related products are not safe for use during pregnancy.

Dr. Leena Nathan of UCLA states that the choice is clear for pregnant women: Based on what is currently known about marijuana, its related products, and their effects on fetuses, women should simply not be using marijuana or other recreational drugs during pregnancy because the prevailing science is that marijuana is detrimental to the fetus.

Dr. Nathan discusses THC in great detail and states that THC can readily cross the placenta and affect the growing fetus including birth weight, brain function, and overall development, she strongly advises pregnant womenagainst both, as you may, in fact, experience more THC exposure when eating marijuana rather than smoking it, so there could potentially be an even greater health risk to the fetus.

The New York Times

The New York Times recently reported that expectant mothers are taking up marijuana in increasing numbers. They conducted an in-depth investigation of dozens of women who ingested forms of marijuana a during their pregnancies to share their stories.

Most of the women they interviewed had vaped or ate marijuana-laced edible food products. More than fifty percent of the women stated that the rationale behind the use of marijuana was for medical reasons and to alleviate pregnancy symptoms.

Following up with the women and their children, the Times found that most women felt that their marijuana use during pregnancy had not affected their babies at all, while some women were unsure if their usage resulted in detriment to their children in some physical, emotional, or developmental way.

Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oil is not as contentious of an issue as edible marijuana products but is still frowned upon by the medical establishment.

bottles of CBD oil

Although used for millennia for a variety of health purposes, the bottom line stance held by most doctors is that erring on the side of caution is the best course of action until research between the relationship of marijuana use, edibles, and oils becomes more comprehensive in scope in terms of pregnancy,


Today experts, including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommend against using any type of weed while pregnant or breastfeeding, with Dr. James Beton, a leading board certified high risk maternal fetal medicine and OB/GYN bluntly and succinctly telling Newsweek.

“I don’t ever recommend it,” since the ingestion of marijuana edibles or use of cannabis oil is no safer for your baby than actually smoking weed.

Society has a long way to go regarding coming to a conclusive medical determination of the impact of marijuana and its associated products on fetuses. Due to the lack of absolutely conclusive research, most physicians suggest a better-safe-than-sorry approach to marijuana use during pregnancy.

It’s extremely important to note that edible marijuana products like brownies, cookies, candy, and cake can often have much higher amounts of THC in them than the weed you put in your joint or pipe.

High levels of THC have the potential to harm your child’s health and development.

So, is it safe to eat edibles or use cannabis oils during your pregnancy? The truth is that there is no conclusive answer to that question yet.

Perhaps in the future with medical advances, we can make solid determinations on the relationship between marijuana and pregnancy, but until that point, the best you can do as a mother is read, research, and ultimately use your best judgment to ensure the health of you and your little one.


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