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“It is natural so it must be safe!”: Cannabis use during pregnancy, an update

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 August 2021

S. Freitas Ramos*
Affiliation:
Department Of Psychiatry And Mental Health, Local Health Unit of Guarda, Guarda, Portugal
D. Cruz E Sousa
Affiliation:
Department Of Psychiatry And Mental Health, Local Health Unit of Guarda, Guarda, Portugal
B. Jesus
Affiliation:
Department Of Psychiatry And Mental Health, Local Health Unit of Guarda, Guarda, Portugal
J. Martins Correia
Affiliation:
Department Of Psychiatry And Mental Health, Local Health Unit of Guarda, Guarda, Portugal
M.I. Fonseca Marinho Vaz Soares
Affiliation:
Department Of Psychiatry And Mental Health, Local Health Unit of Guarda, Guarda, Portugal
J. Mendes
Affiliation:
Department Of Psychiatry And Mental Health, Local Health Unit of Guarda, Guarda, Portugal
*
*Corresponding author.

Abstract

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Introduction

Rates of cannabis use among pregnant women have been increasing. Psychiatrists may be required to provide counselling regarding marijuana use in pregnancy for their patients.

Objectives

To produce an up-to-date review of cannabis effects on pregnancy and the offspring.

Methods

We performed a non-systematic review of the literature apropos a clinical case.

Results

A 31-years-old, 22-weeks pregnant woman presented with severe anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia which she managed solely with cannabis. She had been previously treated with antidepressants and benzodiazepines with symptom remission but had suspended before her pregnancy without medical advice. She believed medication was more harmful to the baby than her cannabis use. There is little perception of risk concerning cannabis use in pregnant woman. Information on cannabis use is less likely to be obtained from healthcare providers than from anecdotal experiences, Internet searching and advice from friends and family. Prenatal use of cannabis has been associated with anaemia in the mother, whereas in the offspring it is associated with reduction in birth weight and greater likelihood of placement in intensive care units. There is insufficient evidence to support an association between marijuana use and any specific congenital abnormality, but also to demonstrate its safety.

Conclusions

It is essential for psychiatrists to have up-to-date knowledge of the effects of cannabis on the pregnancy and the offspring to properly counsel their patients. However, the effects of cannabis on maternal and foetal outcomes remain generally unknown. With rising numbers of female users, there is urgent need for further research.

Disclosure

No significant relationships.

Type
Abstract
Creative Commons
Creative Common License - CCCreative Common License - BY
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Psychiatric Association
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