Dr. Melanie Dreher, reefer researcher

Dr Melanie DreherDr Melanie DreherWhen Dreher released solidly researched reports showing that children of ganja-using mothers were better adjusted than children born to non-using mothers, she encountered political and professional turbulence.
Dr. Melanie Dreher is one of a handful of scientists who have researched marijuana objectively and intelligently in the last three decades.

Dr Dreher is Dean of the University of Iowa’s College of Nursing, and also holds the post of Associate Director for the University’s Department of Nursing and Patient Services. She’s a perpetual overachiever who earned honours degrees in nursing, anthropology and philosophy before being awarded a PhD in anthropology from prestigious Columbia University in 1977.

Although Dreher is a multi-faceted researcher and teacher whose expertise ranges from culture to child development to public health, she began early on to specialize in medical anthropology. After distinguishing herself as a field researcher in graduate school, Dreher was hand-picked by her professors to conduct a major study of marijuana use in Jamaica. Her doctoral dissertation was published as a book titled “Working Men and Ganja,” which stands as one of the premier cross-cultural studies of chronic marijuana use.

Along with being a widely-published researcher, writer, and college administrator, Dreher is a professor or lecturer at several institutions, including the University of the West Indies. She recently served as president of the 120,000 member Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honour Society, has been an expert witness in a religious freedom case involving ganja use by the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, and is one of the most well-respected academicians in the world.

Governmental and private organizations, including the US State Department, have funded Dreher’s many research projects, some of which focused on ganja’s role in Jamaican culture, and the effects of ganja and cocaine on Jamaican women and children.

Dreher has impeccable credentials and a wealth of proprietary information on ganja use, but when she released solidly-researched reports showing that children of ganja-using mothers were better adjusted than children born to mothers who did not use ganja, she encountered political and professional turbulence. Some observers accuse the government and anti-pot groups of working to suppress her findings, but Dreher continues to speak openly about her research.

When Dreher spoke to Cannabis Culture from her office at the University of Iowa, she was affable and intriguing, pleasantly but firmly defending her right to study ganja use and to publish valid scientific findings regardless of political pressure.

Flag of JamaicaFlag of Jamaica[: How did you first become involved in studying ganja in Jamaica?

Dr Dreher: I had already spent one summer in jamaica studying obeah, a kind of black magic, and my professor, Dr Lambros Comitas, felt that if I could study an illegal and underground practice like obeah then I could probably get information on ganja use.

This was in the 70’s, when American pundits were saying that marijuana caused people to be lazy and dysfunctional. We were especially interested in testing the notion that ganja caused an amotivational syndrome. My dissertation research studied various kinds of men’s work, primarily agricultural work, and how ganja interacted with that.

Jamaica was a great place to study because these men used ganja every day for eight to ten years, unencumbered by cocaine or other drugs, and just a little bit of tobacco or alcohol, so you could really measure how ganja affected them. After nearly two years of study in Jamaica, I’d found ganja was used to stimulate work. The amotivational syndrome, whatever it was, certainly didn’t manifest itself in the people I studied.

[: So you just walked up to Jamaican villagers and started asking them about ganja? Weren’t you afraid they’d think you were a police agent?

It was an interesting experience! I had never smoked anything, not even a cigarette. I’m a white woman, a former cheerleader, about as ‘American’ as you could get. I didn’t have an intermediary or liaison. I went into villages and politely introduced myself as an American student. I established trust by going to church and schools and living with these people, telling them I was there to study certain aspects of their culture, especially herbs and particularly marijuana, and people began to trust me. They gave me a few social tests to see if they could really trust me, and after I passed those tests pretty soon I was going into their fields and seeing where ganja was grown, dried, stored, processed and sold.

There is a cultural division between men and women in this culture, but even though I was a woman, as a white American researcher I had more privilege and access to men’s rituals than a Jamaican woman. I got to sit with the men surrounded by these big clouds of smoke, and as they smoked their chillums I asked questions about ganja use and took notes.

[: So ganja use had its own cultural identity and rules?

Yes. Ganja use is governed by customs, beliefs, and social rules. Ganja arrived in Jamaica through the Indian indentured labour; Indians brought with them this whole tradition of preparation of teas, tonics, hash, cooking ganja in food.

The Jamaican ganja-users, except for the Rastas who tend to use more ganja than the people we studied, had strict cultural contexts in which to use marijuana. It isn’t like in the US where people indiscriminately light up and walk around all day stoned. The Jamaicans prescribed certain situations and ways to use ganja.

There were people prohibited from using it. When you smoked you had to act a certain way ? serious, intelligent, reasonable. A man who used ganja and got silly or got the munchies or laughed too much or acted like a fool ? the other men stopped smoking with him because they felt the ganja was a spiritual thing. It’s to be taken seriously in a mature and responsible way.

A whole set of cultural rules guided use and made sure it was positive. The set and setting and cultural traditions in Jamaica made ganja use a positive thing. It’s useful to study ganja in a place where its use is not just a recreational activity ? its use is sacramental, medicinal and social, but it is designed to be a thoughtful activity ? not like you stop at the store and get a six pack of beer to get drunk.

Flag of Jamaica[: Did ganja culture affect how men and women used ganja?

It did. The men believed that ganja inhaled went to the brain and had a psychoactive effect, but that ganja consumed as tea or tonic went into the blood and had a health effect rather than intoxication. They only allowed men to smoke ganja because they didn’t believe women had the right kind of brain for it.

Now there are physiological differences between men and women, and it’s also true that ganja eaten or ingested as tea follows a different route in the body than ganja smoked, but I am not expert enough in this to comment on whether the cultural tradition is supported by science.

Women were allowed to control the medicinal use of ganja. I spent lots of time with rural women, who taught me how to make ganja tonics and teas. They were the administrators of ganja, often the producers and sellers of ganja. It gave them some power and income, like a cottage industry. They gave ganja to men and children as teas, and they knew how to titrate the strength of marijuana teas so a new baby would get just a leaf’s worth but men and boys got more, so they could go and work in the fields with enough strength to survive the hard days.

[: So women never got to smoke ganja?

When I first started research in Jamaica in 1970, women were the ganja medicine specialists but there was a social rule that women should not smoke. The only time women were allowed to smoke was in a pre-sexual context. Everybody believed ganja was an aphrodisiac, they said it made both sexes more powerful, makes you like sex more, makes you concentrate on lovemaking more.

It was not used as a clandestine seduction tool like alcohol. That’s not to say that like at a dance if young men were smoking, a young woman wouldn’t say “Give me a draw,” but it was very innocent, I never saw an attempt to use marijuana as seduction or date rape.

Back then, women were smoking secretly. If a man didn’t finish the whole spliff then after he went to work the women might smoke a little. Women said it helped them do their housework and be good to their children. So the women had to sneak around to smoke it but they were expected to openly administer its medicinal use.

The real focus of the women was to have marijuana to prepare for tea for their children to make them healthier and smarter and help them have better school performance and help them concentrate.

Flag of Jamaica[: Has your subsequent research found changes in the use of ganja by Jamaican women?

Yes, as the role of women has changed economically and socially, some women have been able to smoke ganja openly with the men. They’re called “roots daughters”, which is a term of respect meaning that they can smoke as hard as a man and maintain a dignity of conversation and behavior. They can smoke ganja and reason with men, have debates about serious topics like politics and religion. They are considered to be principled women who are astute and trustworthy.

Another characteristic of these women is they tend to be economically independent and resourceful. They don’t expect that men will have the sole burden of supporting households. Many of these women are working for themselves, and a significant number of them are involved in ganja sales, along with work such as farming and other commercial enterprises. They build their own houses and become less dependent on men, or on one man, for their livelihood.

Part of this change came from Rastafarianism, because Rasta women do smoke ganja chronically as part of their religious rituals. Older women have built up their roles as ganja administrators, while older men may have to decrease their ganja use once their days in the fields are over. The society is changing, experience with ganja is changing, and women smokers are becoming more visible then before.

[: Give us a general overview of the studies you’ve done on ganja use during pregnancy

When I noticed that increasing numbers of women were smoking marijuana, I decided to study prenatal marijuana exposure and its effects on children. Most of the studies done in North America had serious confounds and results which just did not hold up under scrutiny.

We did ethnographic studies which examined the lifestyles of mothers who used ganja and mothers who didn’t use ganja, and compared behavioral characteristics of neonates from both groups in the first month of life. We later went back and looked at the children with a five-year follow-up study.

[: How did your studies differ from other studies?

Up to that point, most studies which examined marijuana use during pregnancy were flawed by serious methodological problems. They couldn’t control for so many variables, and the negative effects they blamed on marijuana could well have been caused by other things.

My studies are among the few which actually measured how much ganja a woman has consumed. I wasn’t sitting in a clinic somewhere divorced from women’s lives asking them how much marijuana they’d used ? my research team is in a community and in the field where we can observe these women and check out their reports. We know how much ganja, and what type and potency, they are consuming. We had ways of verifying the amount of ganja they consume; neighbors would come and tell us what was going on, so we could compare that to what we had been told by the mother.

We had a setting in which we knew that the women were only exposed to marijuana. In most North American studies the women were using all kinds of drugs like alcohol, tobacco, speed and cocaine during prenatal studies, and there was no way for the researchers to know what or how much. We knew what our test subjects were doing and this gave extra credibility to our work.

A lot of media publicity had been given to US studies which purported to show that marijuana caused birth defects or serious developmental problems, but most of this research involved participants who were multi-drug users who had a terrible social support network that probably caused the problems. Instead, these problems were blamed on marijuana.

Flag of Jamaica[: Is it possible that American women didn’t know how to use marijuana intelligently? Did you find that Jamaican women had more ganja wisdom?

American drug use often takes place without cultural rules and in an unsupervised context. The Jamaican women we studied had been educated in a cultural tradition of using marijuana as a medicine. They prepared it with teas, milk and spices, and thought of it as a preventive and curative substance. Smoking it during pregnancy was a way of relieving nausea, increasing appetites, combatting fatigue and depression, providing rest and relaxation. Some of these women were in dire socioeconomic straits, and they found that smoking ganja helped allay feelings of worry and depression about their financial situation.

Our testing showed that the children of women who used ganja had better alertness, stability and adjustment than children of women who didn’t use ganja. This was measured at the age of one month. We measured children again at four years and at five years of age, and found that there were no apparent deficits in the children of marijuana-using mothers. In fact, in many ways, they were better off than children of non-smoking mothers. The ganja-using mothers also seemed better off than non-users.

[: Since these results contradicted the hysteria of drug war assertions, did you find it hard to get your studies published?

I insisted on publishing in a medical journal ? I wanted the academic community to understand that the jury was still out on marijuana and that’s why we do cross-cultural studies to determine how drugs really affect people. It isn’t logical to look just at one culture’s problems with a drug and conclude that that’s a universal situation.

The medical community needed to see that these results, which came from very solid research methods, were far different than what they are usually exposed to. They needed to see that women who smoked marijuana are not bad mothers. I am so damned sick of picking up a woman’s journal or a tabloid and seeing some article saying that if you smoke even one marijuana cigarette during pregnancy you are a bad mother and you’re doing permanent damage to your baby. There’s no evidence to back up these warnings, and in my studies the evidence points in the other direction.

[: It sounds like you’re frustrated about the influences of politics and inaccuracy in the reporting of marijuana research findings.

I just want researchers to use good research methods and to tell women the truth. I think these hyperbolic warnings about marijuana and pregnancy have made women absolutely nuts.

I got a call from a woman who was in tears because she and her husband had waited several years to adopt a baby and finally she had found a baby to adopt, but somebody told the couple they couldn’t adopt the baby because the baby had tested positive for marijuana. “Oh for god’s sake,” I said, “Go adopt your baby. Love your baby. Your baby is going to be just fine.”

Now they’re talking about charging women with child abuse if they test positive for drugs during pregnancy. It’s a slippery slope. Where’s it going to stop? Are we going to arrest women for sitting on the couch eating junk food watching television during pregnancy? We are on the way to the Stepford Wives.

So one of my goals with this research was to get the message to physicians: so women smoke a little marijuana ? big deal. Let women enjoy their pregnancies. If there’s something seriously wrong with their baby it would have occurred no matter what ? marijuana or not. Things have gotten so strange in regard to babies. We have to have the perfect baby and if not, well somebody or something has to be blamed. It must have been a whiff of paint she smelled, or a glass of wine, or a cigarette, or a draw of marijuana? It’s ridiculous.

[: Can you comment on the issue of crack babies?

I have tended to be vary skeptical of crack baby findings. I have studied cocaine use in Jamaica, and have studied children exposed to crack pre-natally who are doing fine.

I think the problem with crack is what happens after birth. The babies are often abused by mothers or others in the home; cocaine is just part of a terrible environment. Ironically, Rastas are the only group who refuse to participate in the cocaine trade. They think it’s poison. Women use ganja to kick cocaine withdrawal; they use ganja during cessation to get enough of a comfortable anti-depressant feeling so that they don’t have to use crack.

Some start using what they call a seasoned spliff, which is a marijuana cigarette seasoned with crack. Having the pot in there seems to relieve the precipitous drop from the crack high to a paranoia which would otherwise force them to smoke crack immediately again. They are high enough on the pot and the crack drop doesn’t make them crazy like it would if they were using crack by itself.

The American government’s approach to cocaine and ganja in Jamaica has been very counterproductive. The DEA finds it easy to see and go after ganja fields, but almost nothing is being done to stop cocaine, which is ravaging the country. It’s very sad.

Flag of Jamaica[: I heard that political pressure influenced your subsequent research grants and the academic journal that you were going to publish your findings in.

It did take us a while to get published. We had to do revisions that I thought were unnecessary. It would be hard to classify the request for us to do revisions as politically motivated. I just thought that these people who wanted the changes made haven’t got a clue about Jamaica or ethnographic research. They went on vacation once to Jamaica and drew some incomplete conclusions.

I felt that the revisions suggested were often based on ignorance of Jamaican culture and prejudice against ganja. The same problems were evident in letters that the journal received after publication. The letters contained unfounded criticisms, and I had to explain that I was doing anthropological research that nobody else was doing. I wasn’t measuring physiology with test tubes. I was measuring behavior, reporting how these women and their children acted.

These babies are doing great. It wasn’t necessarily due to marijuana, but pot-smoking mothers were apparently good mothers and the marijuana didn’t appear to be hurting the babies. I have said repeatedly that I am not recommending that you smoke pot to have a healthy baby, but I am saying let’s not castigate women who use a mild substance during pregnancy.

After doing research in Jamaica funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) from 1988 to 1991, I submitted two follow-up proposals in 1993 and 1994 and got news that never ever do they want to see those proposals again. They had done one of the worst reviews of a proposals that I had ever seen. Really weak.

I thought I should call NIDA and tell them this shows a lack of understanding of any type of unbiased research on the issues involved and what we’re trying to do. It was a damning review, misguided and misinformed. I have to think that this was due to a political consideration, not an honest review of my work.

I’m 55, in my 15th year as dean, I testified in a trial and the prosecution brought out that I was once on the board of NORML, and involved with a group called POT (Patients Out of Time) and wrote an article for a medical marijuana book. So what? I am a good researcher. Nobody knows more about marijuana use in Jamaica than I do, and I am prepared to speak about that and don’t care what people try to do against me because of it. I felt that this last denial at NIDA was motivated by anti-pot ideology, but since that time I was funded by the National Institute of Health.

[: Has your career suffered because you’ve objectively researched marijuana? Do you feel you’ve been persecuted because of your research?

There may well be persecution, but if there is, I don’t obsess over it. I’m a very good dean and highly regarded in the nursing and academic communities. Somebody asked me if I was worried about DARE coming after me, and I thought: Isn’t that the organization that gets children to report on their parents?

I am going to continue doing good research and disseminating the results. Am I worried about persecution? Well, I have a secure academic position and could be a nurse again if I had to, but some of these researchers haven’t got something to fall back on so they have to please NIDA and find what they’re supposed to find. To a large degree, the politicization of such research has corrupted the research process. I’m never going to be a part of that.Flag of Jamaica

Next Issue: More about Dreher’s research into Jamaican cannabis medicine, and how ganja affects children and mothers. Be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss the fun-filled conclusion to the Dreher saga.

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  505. Bluebird on

    Hey there my long lost friends! Yep, the ol’ ganga got me too. I am 28 years old and I have a beautiful 3 yr old daughter, who is way ahead of her age group. I was a very high risk pregnancy with her bc I had just battled certain cancers. I stayed sick to my stomach and depressed as well. My husband worked as a driver so his schedule never matched mine. Also I have no relationship with my family so I was alone for mostly everything, I drove myself hm from the hospital after I hd her!!!! Anyhooo, everything was great and she was perfect!!!!! No complications at all my delivery I pushed 2 times there she as in no time;) I just took a pg test because we’ve been trying in hopes for a lil boy….it came out positive!!!! So now I’m lookin dor the cutesy way to tell my husband!!! Not that I know it’s a boy, but it dsnt matter bc it’s a Baby!!! Any ideas?? By the way I am still smokin never stopped and nursed my daughter for 2 yrs even! She always tested highest percentile I’m trying not to brag but it really might be a good thing!

  506. Anonymous on

    my cusin told me not to smoke weed cuz it will deform my baby..
    but me nd my boyfriend smoke everyday..weed is something imma do for the rest of my life!i didnt wanna stop smokin weed just cuz my baby..but i would if i had too..
    thnk god i found this site cuz my bf always gets high and me having to watch sucked!i love smokeing weed!!nd whatching everyone pass a blunt nd me having to say no bugs me cuz being sober around ppl that r high sucks!!!!!!
    nd i cant wait for my baby to come out okay i dont have to worry anymore!!
    thank you soooooo much!!!
    i love this site!!!!:D
    than yu thank you!!
    god bless!!!

  507. Megan on

    I smoke while pregnant with my first two and breastfed…didn’t ever notice a problem with my milk. But my third child I did not smoke while pregnant (weed, I don’t smoke cigarettes) but did smoke while breastfeeding and I did notice my milk supply was not as strong. But we also had issues because he was tounge tied at birth (the only kid I didn’t smoke with, and he has the birth defect, which is not that serious but ;)Proves a point!)
    I just wonder what the main factor in my reduction of milk was…hmmm.

  508. Megan on

    was for Dawn..

  509. Megan on

    If that comment was for me you can email me at [email protected]

    How’s your pregnancy going?

  510. Anonymous on

    I just wanted to comment that my favourite reply to pot being a gateway drug is that this is only the case because some of the people you have to see to get pot from have other drugs. They’re dealers its their job to push whatever they got. But I mean if Pot’s biggest argument is based around who sells it then fuck we should be laughing. That’s easy to fix. Sell it in stores. If it was there is no way you can tell me it’s anymore a gateway then alcohol. They’re abbreviants and on a level even smoking, stealing, or any other kind of rebellious act could be considered a “gateway.” As for other drugs its only the ones government and people have twisted around melted down extracted whatever from that are bad. Cocaine has had alot of positive impacts as a coca plant. The incas would travel down to the amazon three times a year and collect enough for their community. Being high on mountains they were subjected to lower levels of oxygen and grew abnormally big lungs and other organs too adjust and the coca helped their blood flow quicker o keep their energy levels up. Even extracted it has had wonderful medical abilities esp in eye and retinus surgeries. I like anything natural. I understand I can’t live a whole life messed up on mushrooms and havent done them in years, tho the spiritualness of them is a feeling I never forget, pot works for me. Alcohol definitely does not and my record can second that notion. I’m not a bad guy until the chemicals affect me and thats all the government sells. Alchol and pills. They even put chemicals in my friggen cigarrettes like I know tobacco is natural why can’t I just smoke dried up tobacco leaves thats how it started. I doubt we’ld be facing half as much cancer risks as we do now. But it’s all money and popualtion control. It won’t last forever tho.

  511. Anonymous on

    i appreciate your studies and tests shown on mothers who use and dont use marijuana while being pregnant! ive come to find that actually marijuana helps me with nausea and vomitting also! it takes away my headaches in the moring! and keeps me eating. my doctor told me my due date was sept. 1st but is now pushed up to august 25th because my baby is too big! so i dont really know how it could harm the baby! this is a risk ive been willing to take.ive been so scared on how my babys development is but i could tell you one thing, all my tests ive taken for birth defects and other things came out normal and my baby does not have down syndrome! i appreciate your time and effort for those mothers who use marijuana during pregnancy! 🙂

  512. Green on

    I’m so grateful to find this website! All the others just slate pregnant women who choose to smoke cannibis, without backing it up with any real scientific evidence. I have an 8 month old son (and another on the way) who is happy, very intelligent and quick to learn, and healthy, and I smoked pot through the second and third trimester. I had chronic morning sickness from month 2-6 and smoking weed was the only way I could keep down any food and even water. Without it I was hungry, weak, tired and extreemly cranky. I’m experiencing the same terrible sickness in this pregnancy now so have not even attempted to quit the bud, although I have cut down considerably (i use cigarette in my joints and the negatives from that are proven).
    The only time I will not smoke at all is when I am breastfeeding because I found it reduced my milk supply the last time (not saying it’s a medical fact, just happened to me). But when I have stopped breatfeeding I will continue to smoke the weed because it generally makes me a happier, less irritable mother, which bides well for me, my son and my next child.

  513. Anonymous on

    I have had 4 healty children and one more on the way. Suffered severe morning sickness with all and the only cure was smokin some weed. I came home the other day from a prenatal visit felt so thirsty drank some juice and it came right back up. I think not eating or drinking during pregnancy could cause far more problems, birth defects and what not then smoking a lil pot. I think cigarrettes cause more problems and have more risks but you dont see the cops or anyone else arresting a pregnant woman for smoking those. Technically they can’t do anything about a pregnant mother drinking alcohol either and that has been proven to have horrendeous affects on babies. But wait… I know why… thats right the government can tax ciggarettes and alcohol. Gee Golly what an epifany I just had. LOL I can’t believe the reefer madness has carried on this long. My children are healthy “normal” kids, advanced in school, and socially gifted lol they have no problem making friends. I do keep my marijuana use a secret from them just because of D.A.R.E. week at school. I would hate for my kid to see a pipe in that briefcase they bring to school and have my daughter say ohh my mom has one of those and the cops come knockin on my door. I love my kids, wouldnt do anything to harm them. After reading the very long list of side effects and possible birth defects from the prescriptions I was given I decided to go the natural route. I aleviated my morning sickness symptoms, and helped with post partum depression. I did stop using pot during the pregnany after 7 months because I was no longer having morning sickness and it did give my body and baby time to get all the THC out of our system before the delivery. Some states test your babies for drugs at birth and some states will take custody of any children who test positive for ANY illegal substance. So I took precautions to make sure no one was going to take my babies. Some say pot use during pregnancy causes ADHD, or ADD. Well I believe we have forgotten what its like to be children. We live in a fast paced world that forces too much resposibility on our kids at an early age. My 2nd grader has 5 pages front and back of homework per night. I know when I was in 2nd grade it was not like that. Anyhow I think people are impatient with their kids because of stress from either work or the economy and their kids just become another stress factor so they take the kid to a doctor ( doctor makes $85 per visit) the doctor tell them their kid is ADD, or ADHD ( precription time!!) writes a script and those parents choose to put their kid on government issued speed, instead of making time for their children, playing with them, and giving them time to grow up at a normal pace not when the parent wants them to grow up. People when you get a puppy and it pees on the floor or chews somehting up do you put it on speed? lol NO you say ohh its still a puppy. Why do you treat your dog better than your kids?! Lets let our kids be kids. Marijuana and pregnancy is a personal choice it worked for me 4 healty babies with out birth defects is my proof (oh and smoking pot didnt create any infertility issues either, and though we do have more girls then boys in our family we DO have a boy so its doesnt MAKE you have all girls) lol geez some of the stuff our government will tell you just to scare you into do what they want. The American government is not here for our best intrest they are here to get rich. They dont really care about us. But they do care about that dollar bill YOU worked hard to get.

  514. Anonymous on

    I too am pregnant. I used pot to lessen the affects of morning sickness in my second pregnancy, which my child is perfect. My first child I quit smoking all together, he is also perfect. Now that I’m having my third child, i am still confused and concerned for the health of this child. I am 35, so i am at a higher risk for other complications. I am very pleased to read the info that has been posted, because I believe marijuana has been given a bad rap. There has never been conclusive scientific studies done on marijuana for a person to make the decision to use or not to use. Everyone says its a gateway drug,…I must say that the only drug i have ever used is pot. I have never wanted to try cocaine or heroin, although i know many of my friends who have. I do believe that it was put on this earth for a reason, and it is all natural. You don’t have to cut it with a chemical like cocaine, or process it in any way except to pick it and let it dry out enough to smoke it!! What is it gonna take to get it legalized and sell it like cigarettes but only in a liquor store like establishment where you have to be of certain age to purchase. Alcohol causes more problems than marijuana! People need to be a little more open minded and not so quick to judge. We will all be judged in the end by the MAN that put marijuana on earth to begin with!!!

  515. Anonymous on

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOUUUU ! IM NOT THE ONLY ONE. I’m pregnant too and was a little hesitant on wether i should stop or what to do. Marijuana is my medicine, wether its for a headache, menstrual cramps, stress, insomia EVERYTHING! My opinion is if you dont drink, do drugs, or smoke tobacco, marijuana is just fine. its a NATURAL herb. not some man made pill. 3 of my friends all smoked weed during their pregnancies and they have beautiful HEALTHY daughters. what more proof do we need ?!!!!

  516. Anonymous on

    just wondering if you do smoke while pregnant, can it show in the babies system?

  517. Anonymous on

    If you smoked weed once while you were pregnant like around 4 months will it show up in your babys system? Im doubting it but wanting some other opinions…

  518. Anonymous on

    I think you should cut down on the weed just for when you need it and not smoke tabbacco at all it could cause asthma in your baby. the wine wont effect the baby as long as you catch it early and stop drinking 🙂

    dont worry about the weed just make sure its only once in awhile dont over do it because it can effect ur blood pressure especially in the early stages of pregnancy. i hope this helps take care and congrats!! 🙂

  519. Anonymous on

    I used marijuana with my first pregnancy my son is now 3 yrs old and hasnt had any problems he is very smart and very well delevoped much larger than most children his age he almost looks like a 4 yr old! If i didn’t have pot in the first few weeks of this pregnancy i would have had to be hospitalized for not being able to eat or drink ANYTHING. I had one little hoot here or there to help me eat or sleep or calm my nerves but i never smoke while around my son i dont like the feeling i get when he sees me under the influence so i usually get my mum next door to watch him for a bit or wait till hes alseep. i have been born and raised around weed and to me it is a natural thing i love it and wish it wasnt looked at so badly by people i belive it promotes peace love and harmony I live in Vancouver British Columbia so i am a strong beliver in love for marijuana!! thank you all for your information i am glad to see i am not the only one who feels this way about this wonderful HERB!! God put it in this earth for a reason smoke away people!!!

  520. Anonymous on

    Hello. I just came across this website and found it ever so intriguing to finally find people…with real live credibility, that agreed with me! I have no morning sickness or anything of the sort, i just use pot here and there to keep myself relaxed and keep myself from going crazy!!i see no problem with hitting the bong and then eating some health foods!!:)Just wondering, you said you were 34 weeks in december…how is your baby?I hope everything turned out well and your baby is healthy!if so then you and your child are proof!thats what i am aiming to be!!!hope to hear from you soon!!

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  522. Anonymous on

    Hi, I found out I was pregnant literally an hour ago (after smoking cones all day, my usual practice for the past year -I started smoking a year ago after I miscarried and wanted to take my mind off things..) I have smoked on/off for 15 years (am 31) but wasn’t smoking when I conceived the baby I miscarried.

    Anyway, because i had no idea i was pregnant until an hour ago, i have been drinking a few wines a night, smoking cones all day etc and now I’m so worried that something may happen badly with my pregnancy. I was planning on stopping smoking when I saw the positive test result, until I started googling and found this site, but now I’m wondering what to do? I do mix my weed with cigarettes tho so that’s prob different to USA ppl..

    Aussie Chick
    xo thanks!

  523. Dawn on

    I have been researching the effects of marijuana during pregnancy and came across your comment. THANK YOU for posting! It was like reading something I could have written. I am Also bi-polar and have severe mood swings. Pot makes me a calmer, more balanced mom and person. I am 7 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child and have morning sickness like I have never imagined. I had no illness with my first child, and did not smoke during that pregnancy. My morning sickness has been so bad that I could not hold anything down for 9 days, so i gave in and took 3 hits off my pipe and OMG INSTANT RELIEF! I couldn’t believe how much better i felt. I smoke maybe a bowl a day now, which is conciderably less than what I was smoking prior to my new pregnancy, but I am able to eat and it alos gives me energy to clean and get things done. I have to admit, its WAY better than living in the bathroom, or worrying about going anywhere there’s not a garbage can close by. I am glad to see that I am not alone..I Would like to ask you some questions if you wouldn’t mind…

    Thanks again for your post!
    Go Green! Go Organic!
    Fellow Pregnant pot smoking mom Dawn.

  524. Renae on

    I must say that I am super happy that I found this website!
    I am a pot smoker and have 2 boys that I did not smoke with while being pg with them but now life is more hectic and stressful with them and I began smoking again to calm my nerves and now I’m 6wks pg and worried about the effects of me smoking pot with this baby. I have a friend who told me her Dr. advised her that it was ok to smoke it but of course that was between them not for the publics ears to hear, so I thought if a Dr. would say its ok then how bad could it really be? So I began my research and wow pretty much everything I’ve found is scary and makes you feel full of guilt but something in my heart just doesn’t believe it all, I know the medical field is full of scare tactics to deter one in continuing to paratke in pot smoking. Now what I have read here makes 500% sense in my brain as Melanie has stated most negative medical findings were done with woman who also smoked ciggarettes or drank alcohol or used powerful drugs, I use none of those and now feel safe and most importantly confident I will not be harming my baby by cotinuing to smoke pot in moderation…Thank you so much Melanie for all your years and efforts of research.

  525. Megan on

    I am so thankful for Melanie’s research. I have 3 children, and am pregnant with my 4th (9 weeks). I smoked marijuana while pregnant with my first two children, in moderation. My daughter is the smartest little girl I have ever seen. She taught herself to read. She is in the 1st grade and reads at a 3rd grade level. She and my son are the sweetest, mildest children you could ever meet. Of course, they are not perfect and neither am I! But I always felt guilty for my marijuana use because of what the world leads you to believe about it, though in my heart I don’t believe it’s wrong to smoke a little pot while pregnant. It does help you feel better and it helps you to eat. I didn’t smoke with my 3rd child and I don’t see any differences in behavior or growth in any of my children. I do smoke now, maybe 2 times a day. I do skip days where I do not do it at all, and I use it in moderation to where I take just a few hits off a marijana cigarette at a time. I don’t go overboard. I suffer from bi-polar disorder as well and have opted to not take medication, but I treat myself with marijuana instead. I’d much rather put a NATURAL substance in my body that GOD created!! Rather than some random pills that Lord knows what’s in them. Pot helps me in my daily life to blanket my bi-polar symptoms and mood swings. It helps me to enjoy my daily life and to be a better, less irrated mother for my children.
    I will always be a marijuana advocate. It was put on this earth for a reason!

    If you guys haven’t checked out Melanie’s video report on marijuana use while pregnant on Youtube, you should. It’s great!

  526. Anonymous on

    i found this information very helpful! i have smoked marijuana during my pregnancy and have had no problems so far? i am 24 weeks.

  527. *Cali on

    i gotta admit i feel the same way i was given three differnt prescriptions one in which is beging recalled i havent told any doctors that i use pot,in fear of well any discrimnation, unless i felt it was contributing to something negative through my pregnancy ( in which all is good Now @ 34 weeks)..zofran has somewhat help with nausea but i have absoloutly no appteit i cant even hold down water some days, finding after a small hit i can snack and drink juice and water all day,9 at the very least.lol) i wish these studies were easier to find because sometimes the stress of hiding not knowing if your alone in this ..can cause more stress which i feel is more harm, thnx dr. dreher

  528. Anonymous on

    I used marijuana a lot during my pregnancy. Before I found out I was pregnant. When I found out, I did like they say, and I stopped smoking it. About a week, maybe two later I was terribly terribly nauseous, I was in pain, I couldnt even eat. So after 3 days of being unable to consume food I began smoking marijuana again. I felt better!
    I was able to eat and my baby stopped playing soccer with my stomach and I quit being nauseous.
    It was at that point where I decided I wanted to know for myself what the effects were. I searched the internet and found Dr. Dreher’s research. I read the whole thing, I told my Dr that I was using marijuana and she prescribed something for my nausea. I again stopped the marijuana (had to give the Dr’s option a try) I took the pill they gave me, then prompltly threw it up, how was that going to help if I couldn’t even keep that down. Needless to say I went back to smoking marijuana. (I’m talking like 3-9 times a day)
    My baby is now almost 2 years old. Other then complications with hospital staff and police being jerks saying there must have been some other drugs I was taking and trying to take my child. I got to take her home from the hospital and everything has turn out great. My baby turned out fine, she is in the 95-100th percentile for Height and Weight and is physically much more developed then others her age, runs, jumps, plays, and is generally healthy.
    Marijuana worked for me.

  529. Hokulani on

    I smoked pot during my pregnancies and have always believed it was one of the factors that contributed to having two very healthy children. But…both my children were born with chromosome abnormalities. One has Down Syndrome and the other has a rare genetic deletion called Smith-Magenis syndrome. Of course I would have had these children with or without cannabis. I have always believed that smoking cannabis (occasionally)while pregnant enhanced their health and mental abilities. My two children do not fit the norm for their syndromes and continue to amaze everyone they meet with their physical strength, coordination and alertness. No, they are not medical oddities, super athletes or math whizzes, just exceptionally healthy. And, yes they are still considered disabled although that term would need to be re-defined since my children are truly abled in so many ways. We so need to change the perception of this remarkable plant and yank it out of the “Cheech and Chong” image. It is called TaiMa in Chinese medicine, which means THE GREAT MOTHER! Is there anything more to say once that fact is known?
    Mahalo Dr. Dreher for the work you are doing to change the image of this all purpose plant.

  530. Anonymous on

    I want to thank you for the couple of articles on this subject by Dr.Melanie Dreher. I have been suffering from severe nausea and vomitting during pregnancy that hasnt gone away like it does for most women. I did alot of online research before finding these articles and to be honest the information I was getting was of course completely bias and frustrating. I smoke pot normally, but as soon as I found out I was pregnant I gave that up and many other things. What is hard for me to swallow is how it is ok for me to be taking like 8 other doctor prescribed medications a few times a day in a sad effort (cause its not working) to relieve my symptoms and that is somehow considered much more healthy for my baby then smoking a little pot. Now I am unsure what to do…I think the judgement of society and how it has been drilled into me that marijuana is bad during pregnancy has made me afraid to even try it but my head tells me it cant be any worse than all these prescription drugs Im having to take even though I dont want to take them. I did read some research done by Motherisk at Sick Kids hospital and they are trying to make a point of telling you not to do it, but at the same time as Dr.Dreher pointed out that not only were these women smoking pot but smoking several cigarettes, drinking and doing other street drugs during pregnancy. I do none of those things. Anyway it definately gave me something to think about it and if I get over my own paranoia about it maybe I can have a comfortable non puking rest of my pregnancy. Thanks for this!