Should I, or shouldn’t I?
It’s a question people tend to ask themselves before they use substances. Should I have a glass or two with my dinner? Should I have one more before I hit the road?
If you ask us, we’re probably going to fall on the side of “shouldn’t” in most cases, but then again, we’re a rehab provider.
Some cases are pretty obvious. If you’re about to drive a car or operate heavy machinery, you shouldn’t drink or use a medication that’ll make you sleepy. If you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t smoke or drink; both activities are known to have bad outcomes at birth.
Okay, but what about cannabis?
Legal cannabis products usually have some sort of warning label on them advising people that A) the product contains THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, and B) they should avoid doing the usual things people under the influence of a psychoactive substance should avoid doing, like driving a car. This is great advice; drugged driving is a genuine problem that includes everything from cannabis to over-the-counter medications.
As for using weed while pregnant, well … that’s not so easy to answer, which is unfortunate. As this Vox article shows, cannabis is often marketed toward pregnant women as a treatment for morning sickness.
Murky Waters Surround Cannabis Use While Pregnant
It’s been known for a long time that smoking and/or drinking during pregnancy is a bad idea, full stop. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking during pregnancy is a risk for various birth defects, premature births, and low birth weights.
As for alcohol, drinking during pregnancy runs a gamut of risks involving problems with birth as well as a wide range of symptoms commonly known as fetal alcohol syndrome.
Cannabis is a tougher call. For one thing, there’s a real lack of research on the subject, believe it or not. Secondly, taking a critical eye towards any study is a smart thing to do.
First, the studies: In 2020, a review of decades’ worth of studies was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Researchers from Columbia University, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Australia’s Swinburne University reviewed articles published on a variety of sites including PubMed and Google Scholar.
The researchers found the use of cannabis during pregnancy didn’t appear to have negative effects on children’s intelligence or capacity to learn later in life.
A study also published in 2020 by researchers from Washington State University found the offspring of pregnant rats who had been exposed to vapor that contained cannabis tended to have learning difficulties and problems with socialization and anxiety when put into a new environment.
Meanwhile, in 2021 an additional study conducted by teams from UC San Diego and Fudan University in Shanghai examined nearly 5 million health records of mothers and infants in California between 2001 and 2012. Of that group, just over 20,000 had been diagnosed with cannabis use disorder.
Their findings? Babies born to mothers with cannabis use disorder were substantially more likely to be premature. Worse, they were 35% more likely to die during their first year of life.
Startling results to be sure, but it’s always wise to keep certain things in mind while considering studies cited by anyone. Also, when making a potentially life-or-death question about whether you should use a substance, maybe “should” is the wrong question.
Maybe You’re Asking the Wrong Question: Instead of “Should,” Ask “Why?”
If there is a consensus among experts, it’s this: using cannabis during pregnancy is not recommended. NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse cites research and statements from the Food & Drug Administration and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as advising against it.
As far as a cure for morning sickness, NIDA cautions that there is a lack of research on the subject and recommendations from dispensaries tend not to come from medical professionals.
So, let’s go back to the question which kicked off this article. As we said, we’re a rehab company and we’ll happily tell you not to use anything addictive. But that’s something of an oversimplification.
Addiction isn’t really about this substance or that substance; if it were, treating addiction would be much easier. Instead, addiction is often driven by an underlying cause, such as trauma or a mental disorder like severe depression or anxiety (and vice versa).
Instead of asking yourself if you should use something, maybe ask yourself why first. Need to wind down at the end of the day with a stiff drink? Okay, but why a stiff drink; what else is going on? Struggling with morning sickness? Why not contact your primary physician, or check out remedies for morning sickness which don’t involve cannabis?
Fundamentally, the should-or-shouldn’t question is a gamble. Is it one you’re willing to take with a newborn baby?
If You Think You Might Have A Problem, You Should Seek Help
Addiction is treatable, even though it often makes people feel helpless. It’s entirely possible to develop a dependence on cannabis (“wake and bake” describes addictive behaviors almost too well) and have a life spent obtaining, using, and recovering from its effects. Addiction centers and drug rehabs treat both addiction and any behaviors driving it.
At some point during drug treatment, people will enter outpatient rehab. Sober living allows for a person to attend outpatient care while living in a tightly managed, drug-free environment. Basically, sober living acts as a defense against drug cravings, and harmful social influences, and even allows for a measure of defense against relapse.
Finding a sober living arrangement can be difficult, however. That’s why we created SoberLivingNearYou.com. Perhaps the largest directory of sober home businesses online, finding a sober home for your budget and personality has never been easier.
Start searching for a sober home today with SoberLivingNearYou.com!