Zorba Paster: Don't Use Marijuana During Pregnancy

I get questions all the time about the safety of marijuana. Unfortunately, there are few studies around because the feds have put it into the same category as cocaine. Until they realize their dumb mistake, we won’t be able to do much research.

With no data, all we have are opinions. The anti-marijuana people say it’s dangerous all the time; the pro-marijuana people say it’s safe all the time.

In the meantime, we do have occasional research to depend on.

That’s where a new study from the British Medical Journal comes in. Having a toke during pregnancy can be bad for your baby, just like drinking booze.

Epidemiological researchers, the number crunchers, looked at databases surveying women who had complications of pregnancy. They found 24 studies where these women were asked, among other things, whether or not they smoked marijuana while they were pregnant.

They found that the mothers who did smoke marijuana were 36 percent more likely to be anemic and their babies 77 percent more likely to be small for their age and have a smaller head. Plus, they were twice as likely to need to be in the neonatal ICU.

Now, you can argue that since these were observational studies — that is, they didn’t take two groups, tell one group to stay clean and the other group to get stoned — that we can’t draw any conclusions. But do you really think we’d carry out a study telling moms to get stoned and then look at the outcome of their pregnancy?

Imagine the headlines that kind of research would make, let alone the ethics behind it.

My spin: Be a prudent parent. Don’t smoke anything when you’re pregnant.