Alabama bill would restrict cannabis use for pregnant women


A bill has been introduced in Alabama that would make it so women between the ages of 25 and 50 have to provide a negative pregnancy test to purchase medical cannabis. These women will have had to take the test within 48 hours of purchasing the medical cannabis. Privacy advocates and women’s groups have expressed strong opposition to this bill.

“Imagine being pregnant, having epilepsy, and being denied the benefit of medical marijuana, leaving you with medications known to be dangerous to fetal health,” the National Advocates for Pregnant Women said. “Science matters. There is no evidence that marijuana poses unique risks of harm during pregnancy or higher risk than any of the many medications pregnant people use, prescribed or not. In addition to being unconstitutional, it is not evidence-based.”

The bill isn’t limited to pregnant women. Even after having the child, it would prohibit women who are breastfeeding from purchasing medical
cannabis. Alamaba recently made medical cannabis legal, but its program is extremely limited. There are only going to be four dispensaries for medical cannabis in the entire state.

There hasn’t been enough research into cannabis use during pregnancy to determine how harmful it might be to a fetus, but the existing evidence does show that it is likely harmful to some degree. According to the CDC, pregnant women should not use cannabis.

“Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health. The chemicals in marijuana (in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) pass through your system to your baby and may harm your baby’s development,” the CDC says. “Although more research is needed to better understand how marijuana may affect you and your baby during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant persons do not use marijuana.”

That being said, some women need to use medical cannabis to treat serious ailments, and the alternative medications they could be taking have in many cases been shown to be worse for a fetus than using cannabis is likely to be. Cannabis advocates say these decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor instead of politicians.

In terms of breastfeeding, there’s even less research into how cannabis use might affect a baby who’s breastfeeding. It appears likely there isn’t a
major effect, but much more research needs to be done. The CDC currently recommends against using cannabis if you’re breastfeeding while more
research is done to determine the effects.