How Cannabis Helps —- PREGNANCY “Morning Sickness”

How Cannabis Cures "Morning Sickness"

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE SAFE EFFECTS  —–  BY — Rachel E. Westfalla, Patricia A. Janssenb, Philippe Lucasc , Rielle Caplerd — Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada


 

SUMMARY –Therapeutic use

How Cannabis Cures "Morning Sickness"

How Cannabis Cures “Morning Sickness”

A majority of women experience some nausea and/or vomiting during pregnancy. This condition can range from mild nausea to extreme nausea and vomiting, with 1–2% of women suffering from the life-threatening condition hyperemesis gravidarum. Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) may be used therapeutically to mitigate pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. This paper presents the results of a survey of 84 female users of medicinal cannabis, recruited through two compassion societies in British Columbia, Canada. Of the seventy-nine respondents who had experienced pregnancy, 51 (65%) reported using cannabis during their pregnancies. While 59 (77%) of the respondents who had been pregnant had experienced nausea and/or vomiting of pregnancy, 40 (68%) had used cannabis to treat the condition, and of these respondents, 37 (over 92%) rated cannabis as ‘extremely effective’ or ‘effective.’ Our findings support the need for further investigations into cannabis therapy for severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

 

The condition known as ‘morning sickness’ is characterized by heightened sensitivity to smells and flavors, nausea, and/or vomiting during pregnancy. In spite of its colloquial name, it can affect women at any time of the day or night. This ailment afflicts an estimated 50–90% of pregnant women.

How Cannabis Cures "Morning Sickness"

How Cannabis Cures “Morning Sickness”

Morning sickness usually occurs in early pregnancy and frequently abates in the late first trimester, without significant adverse effects on weight or nutritional status. More serious, however, is pernicious vomiting of pregnancy, or hyperemesis gravidarum, an intractable form of morning sickness that often requires a visit to a hospital and even total parenteral nutrition to avoid dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and hypovolemic shock. Its incidence remains stable at 1–10/ 1000 pregnancies in Western societies, despite modern attempts at treatment, whether pharmacological, or with alternative methods such as acupressure bracelets and hypnosis. As with milder forms of morning sickness, the aetiology of hyperemesis gravidarum remains cryptic, as it has not been ascribed to any known pathophysiological mechanism such as endocrine imbalance or other biochemical derangement.

 

Use of cannabis as an anti-emetic

Cannabis has a lengthy history of use as a medicinal plant, including a number of uses relating to obstetrics and gynecology. While cannabis in various forms has been utilized as a treatment for morning sickness in many indigenous cultures throughout history, its first formal citation in Western medicine probably dates to the 19th century when a physician in Ohio employed an extract of Cannabis indica to successfully remedy a near fatal case of hyperemesis gravidarum. Such use persists today amongst Rastafarian women in Jamaica. Despite the stigma cannabis carries due to its illegal status and its popularity as a recreational psychoactive drug, it has attracted considerable attention for its potency as an anti-emetic, used primarily by chemotherapy and anti-HIV-exposed drug patients.

How Cannabis Cures "Morning Sickness"

How Cannabis Cures “Morning Sickness”

Accordingly, allowances have been made in Canada for medicinal cannabis use through a federally administered licensing program. Clinical trials have evaluated THC and other natural and synthetic cannabinoids for use against nausea and vomiting among chemotherapy patients. Tramer and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 30 such trials, including 1366 chemotherapy patients altogether. The authors of this review concluded that cannabinoids (extracts or synthetic versions, none of which were administered in smoked form) are slightly more effective than conventional anti-emetic drugs. While many patients said they preferred cannabinoids to other anti-emetic drugs, they reported more side effects. These side effects included a feeling of ‘high’ (30%), sedation (20%), euphoria (15%), dizziness, dysphoria or depression (13%), hallucinations (6%), paranoia (5%), and arterial hypotension. Musty and Rossi reviewed six previously unpublished US state trials of cannabis therapy for nausea and vomiting in cancer chemotherapy patients. According to these authors, smoked cannabis gave patients 70–100% relief from symptoms of nausea and vomiting, whereas THC capsules gave 76–88% relief from symptoms.

Despite its positive evaluation as an anti-emetic in the context of chemotherapy, cannabis has not been formally evaluated as a therapy for the common ailment described above as ‘morning sickness.’ A case study by Curry indicated that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy may be relieved by smoking cannabis in very small quantities—as little as one or two puffs, once or twice a day.

How Cannabis Cures "Morning Sickness"

How Cannabis Cures “Morning Sickness”

Health concerns regarding cannabis use in pregnancy

As a result of the social stigma and legal consequences associated with the use of cannabis, the health implications of prenatal exposure resulting from therapeutic use have not been studied at all. As such, we must turn to the literature on risk management and illicit drug use, with the caveat that recreational cannabis use in pregnancy may not be equivalent to its therapeutic use, in terms of adverse health effects. Cannabis is reported to be the most widely used recreational drug in pregnancy, and, accordingly, the health effects are relatively well studied in this context.

A multi-State study of 7470 women in the U.S., who were at low risk for adverse perinatal outcomes, in whom the use of cannabis was assessed by interview and serum assay, reported no association between cannabis use and premature delivery, low birth weight, or abruptio placentae after adjustment for tobacco use.

 


 

 

Source: http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.167.8161&rep=rep1&type=pdf

 

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