Marijuana might have made me a healthier mom

March 4 | Guest post by Zahra
Original photo by Flickr user arachnized mechanid. Used by Creative Commons license.
I'm a hyperemesis gravidarum "survivor." I hate using the word survivor, because hyperemesis gravidarum isn't a permanent condition. The physical effects only last as long as you're pregnant. It's more of a painful waiting game.

When I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was elated — and to celebrate, I went out to eat. I got the biggest burger you're ever seen and happily ate the whole thing, thinking this was the sort of decadence my newfound pregnancy can guiltlessly afford me.

I was wrong.

Moments later, the whole thing came up. Everything after that came up as well…for months. I went to the ER once and was told it was just severe morning sickness and it would pass. I spent my first trimester and half of my second lying in the floor puking in a bucket. I could not move. I had to be carried to the bath and washed. Standing was impossible and walking was worse. I was so hungry, but unable to even think of eating. I lost 30lbs with my daughter. Luckily, she was born two weeks early a healthy 7lb 11oz little miracle. I felt as though I'd earned her. I had faced some sort of horrible trial and now was ready to face motherhood.

I eventually joined the Navy, where I met my current husband. He is a wonderful partner and a miraculous father-in-training to my now almost 4 year old daughter. We decided to conceive our second child a few months before he left for Qatar, and with very little time, we did. We were totally ecstatic! We went to our appointments and told our closest friends and relatives, giddy as can be.

Then I hit week 7.

That's when the IVs started. I couldn't turn in bed for fear of Exorcist-like vomiting. Water didn't stay down any better than anything else. I was home vomiting more than I was at work. Luckily, the military pays you whether or not you're there, and my command tried to be very supportive but there wasn't much they could do. There wasn't much anyone could do. I just laid there.

When you feel like you're dying, you mind goes to horrible places. Suicide and abortion were the dark things that I thought about when the blood started coming up. Then there was the painful seeing-off of my husband to the middle east. He received multiple phone calls and contact from the Red Cross from the hospital, always dreading the news it would bring.

Zahra at 17 weeks pregnant
Once I could sit up, I started researching what could be done. I read about a woman who was pregnant more than 10 times. After miscarrying and reluctantly aborting due to HG, she finally discovered the miracle that allowed her two healthy children.


That's right. Marijuana. Hell, it works for cancer patients, it makes perfect sense! Here, I'd been juggling Zofran, promethazine, Compazine, and Reglan to no avail and the answer was out there growing in the ground!

My excitement quickly faded when I realized one crucial element: I was in the military. I would have to choose between my career and my health.

It was a hard choice, but I chose not to smoke. The daughter I have needs me to continue doing what I'm doing and keeping our family secure. I'm now almost 5 months along, and I am glad to say that I can eat again. I've regained 5 of the 25lbs that I've lost. You could eat in a day what I ate in two and a half months.

As someone who never enjoyed smoking weed for recreation, I can now say that I am an avid proponent of legalizing medical marijuana. I would never wish what I went through on anyone. Women who are suffering and are in need should be afforded the treatment that they and their children deserve. I will be attending HempFest in Seattle to raise awareness for HG and support medical marijuana research.

I will not be having any more children. I don't know that my mind or body could take the abuse again. However, I do believe it is the right of every good woman to have the experience of motherhood and that all possible treatments should be available.

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  1. I am all for the legalize of Marijuana. You know it would help the State of CA get out of our HUGE debt if they legalized it and taxed the selling of it. But that is for another blog =)

    I do not know much about medical marijuana but is it safe during pregnancy because if it was that would be great for people that have HG.
    That is so horrible for you and everyone that has had to go through that.

    1 agrees
    • From what has been explained to me. Marijuana is "safe" during pregnancy. The smoking it is whats bad for you and the baby. Like lighting anything on fire and inhaling it. But there are conflicting studies.

      THC can be consumed in pill form as well as baked in food or vaporized to minimize carcinogen affects.Weather or not you feel that is safe during pregnancy is your own thing.

      I personally would rather smoke a little pot that pump myself and my unborn child full of chemicals.

      1 agrees
      • I did not even think of pill form or baked in food. My friend actually works in a medical marijuana dispensory so I hear stories about all the cookies and candies all the time.

      • The wonderful thing is that there are vaporizers. Lighter fluid and fire never actually touches the marijuana. So rather than burning the pot (which produces the irritants), the vapo heats the pot & its active compounds boil off, becoming a vapor. Its proven to be the healthiest way to enjoy marijuana. Really great for preggo mom whose feeling terrible, because its not the actual marijuana thats bad for the pregnancy…good times.

        1 agrees
    • oh my gosh! my story is just like yours…once 7 weeks hit..done..sick..with both pregnancy's…lost 30 lbs…all you want to do is sleep to make it go away…….i too had to be forced to shower…My hair was starting to get so tangled from laying on the couch for days……. I want to have a 3rd..and am scared to death to go through this again…. my friends and family think i am crazy….. did your doctor prescribe it??? is it healthy for the baby??? mind me asking…do you have a thyroid issue? i have recently met a women who's story is the same also and we both have hashimoto's disease……thanks so much!


  2. I didn't have realy truly, in-the-hospital, HG, but I had morning sickness throughout my entire pregnancy. For me it was actually evening sickness – lunch and breakfast were fine, but I threw up my dinner a couple times a week. For 10 months. I didn't gain any pregnancy weight until about the 7th month. And for relief from the nausea I did, indeed, smoke pot. It really, REALLY helped me. I can't say I never worried about possible side effects on my developing baby, but the research I did convinced me that the anti-nausea benefits of MODERATE smoking far outweighed the possible negative effects. The placenta is a pretty powerful barrier for keeping unwanted things out of the baby's bloodstream, and it did its job just fine.

    It will be interesting to see the tone of the comments on this site. When I was pregnant I mentioned that I was using marijuana to aleviate my nausea on another pregnancy forum, and wow – the judgement! hostility! ignorance! fear! that came out was incredible. The thread actually got killed because of it. heh.

    1 agrees
    • I had the same issues with both of my pregnancies- from day one & until the day I birthed them. It was all day nausea for me, too. At 7 am, 3 pm, dinner time, and bed time.

      I'm pregnant right now with number three, and I'm still only in my first trimester and again, its all day. I'm HOPING that it doesn't last the whole time again.

      With all that being said, I did & use marijuana to help me out. My midwife gave me the ok and even lets people know its good for curbing the nausea. Its a good thing & it helps IMMENSELY.

      You're not alone…I know that for a fact…

      2 agree
      • I feel I also should also say that I did research. A lot of research on the subject. Based upon my findings, and the ok from my midwife, I felt that using the marijuana was a beneficial aid to me during my pregnancy.

        Our daughter weighed in at 7 lbs 8 oz and our son was 8 lbs 4 oz. Healthy babies and today, 3 & 2 years later they are incredibly intelligent children…

  3. tinctures, brownies, a vaporizer, all these things are great alternatives to sparking up a doob!!If we educate moms on how to SAFELY use marijuana during pregnancy I think we would help so many moms.

    1 agrees
  4. Gotta do what you gotta do, I guess. This is the first story here that made me go "Zoiks!" but I have to say that I've never been pregnant, and I've certainly never been through such long-term suffering, and if pot is safer than the alternatives, you need to go with the safest option. If it's truly a well-weighted decision and the mother has fully researched it, then go for it. But I sure hope I'm never in your situation! I've never smoked, never wanted to, but I do think drugs should be legalized.

    I've heard anecdotal evidence of rare calf's liver completely alleviating morning sickness for the rest of the pregnancy, btw. Obviously not everyone would consider this an option.

    • I am a mother of 2 and pregnant with my third.I am a living witness that marijuana is NOT HARMFUL IN ANYWAY DURING PREGNANCY. I was sick my whole pregnancy and had no mercy !! I didn't suffer when I began to use it. I was able to eat and not throw up. Why is it okay for legal drug dealers (pharmicist) to give you addictive pills…but it's a crime to take natural plants (POT!)? That are non addictive!! My son is 2 and very smart. He is rarely sick and recovers quicker than my daughter, whom I didnt use pot with. Shes sick alot longer than my boy.

      1 agrees
  5. I completely supprt the legalization of medical marijuana it would do some people alot of good and it also helps with people that have anger issues and anxiety.

  6. The particulars of your story are unique, but the overall theme is so universal! So many women in the United States and all over the world have to make choices between their own health, the health of their child, and the safety and well-being of their existing families, and lots of times there's just little to no support for them.

    Marijuana may not have helped your nausea, but the fact that you couldn't even try is just wrong.

    2 agree
  7. I, first and foremost, commend you on your brave and honorable decision to be honest and share this with us. I smoked throughout both my daughter and youngest son's pregnancies. It was recommended, quite tongue and cheekly, for my "extreme morning sickness" which never got the dx of HG. I was "too small" to begin with, weighing only 88 lbs on my 5'4 frame when I went in for my daughter's first pregnancy visit. I suffered blackouts and could barely walk. I only lost 9 lbs, but for an 88 lb adult, it was excruciating to my body. It's amazing what this NATURAL HERB does to your body. What many people realize is that you don't have to get "high" for it's medical effects. Smoking made me sick, so I opted for brownies and cookies (although I didn't quite get the yumminess in the cookies). In any rate, thank you and good luck on your adventure toward legalization. We are active in the cause here in Az and committed as well. Congrats on your pregnancy and would love to hear an update post when the baboo comes! :-)

    1 agrees
    • I don't really care if people smoke pot or not but just because something is natural doesn't mean it's good for you.

      2 agree
      • " just because something is natural doesn't mean it's good for you."

        Absolutely true. And just because a doctor prescribes it and a pharmacy carries it, doesn't mean it's good for you.

        3 agree
        • I would like to say that as someone else who has been through HG, and lost two children because of it—while it may not be 'good for you' it's a lot better than dying (and yes, women die from this.) It's better than suicide, and it's better than a 'therapeutic' abortion.

          1 agrees
      • While that is a reasonable caveat, the fact is, in many respects marijuana is actually good for you. Quite a lot of the hype about how bad it is, is just that, HYPE. Some pretty compelling studies exist on marijuana's cancer fighting properties, it helps with nausea and anxiety, can help with high blood sugar, and absolutely safely helps with HG, which I was diagnosed with during my two pregnancies. I suffered through with my first, but when they put me on Zofran with my second and I started getting massive migranes whenever I took it, I decided that I had to try something else.

        Thanks, Alisha, for being brave enough to share your story.

        3 agree
        • Can you provide links to these studies? I'm doing my preconception research right now and I'm having a really hard time finding any evidence about this subject.

          5 agree
  8. In Canada medical marijuana is legal and often used for chronic pain and cancer patients. I have never heard of it being used for morning sickness but I guess it makes sense. Very interesting article.

  9. I would rather consume a natural PLANT (which as others have pointed out, does Not have to be 'smoked' and thus eliminates the carcinogenic effects), than pop a lab-created drug….

    What the eff is in "Zofran," anyway? Who knows (besides a pharmacist)??

    Oh, but right, the big pharmaceutical companies won't make any $$$ unless they can "scare" you out of using natural remedies and ONLY TRUST THEM. Ah, American propoganda….

    For more on this (though regarding food, not medicine), see –… . (And no I don't work for Amazon, lol).

    People have been using plants and natural remedies for their ailments, including throughout pregnancy, long before they used 'Zofran' (or other lab-created drugs).

    I commend you for sharing your story. I hope you don't get slammed for it by people (who probably have Never experienced hyperemesis gravidarum….).

    5 agree
    • Just because something is a PLANT doesn't meant that it is any less toxic than a lab-created drug. I'm not a proponent of big pharma and I fully support the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational uses, but it gets my ire up when I hear people say, "Remedy A must be better for you; it's natural, it's a plant." Plenty of highly toxic chemicals come in the form of plant materials – in fact, MOST poisons are originally derived from plants.

      Plants are living organisms, and are composed of hundreds of thousands of different molecules and can contain dozens of different chemical compounds. Just because it grows in the ground doesn't mean that it's safer than something made in a lab.

      12 agree
  10. "…I do believe it is the right of every good woman…"

    Sorry, but bad woman should have rights too.

    1 agrees
    • I would like to respectfully contest that statement. If a woman is bad because she is abusive to her children, then she (in my opinion) deserves no rights whatsoever. Abuse and molestation are inexcusable from anyone. Of course, the definition of abuse tends to vary from person to person, so take that as you will.

      1 agrees
  11. I definitely support the legalization of marijuana, too. It's kind of amazing that you decided to go through with a second pregnancy after the nightmare of your first! You're either very brave or a little crazy. :) In any case, I'm very happy you emerged from these experiences healthy and sane, and thanks for giving a voice to other women in your shoes. I have to say, though, that horror stories like these make it that much easier to keep with my plan of not procreating…

  12. im am curious does marinol carry the same or more risks then baked or vaporized marijuanna?

    i have a friend who is in her second trimester and she doesn't want to be caught with marijuanna , but her nausea is pretty sever. do you think they would prescribe it to her?

    • Marinol is 100% THC versus the 6%-22%. Marinol has many side effects not found in cannabis. I myself can't take it because I have seizures, and Marinol has been known to cause seizures even with people with no history.
      I'd talk to your doctor about it. I am 4 months pregnant myself and have talked to over half a dozen already that have been introduced to "convince me" to take seizure drugs while pregnant. I am not using cannabis regularly in fear of the repercussions, so it's not like they can call me out for "thinking" about starting a regiment.
      The more we all talk to our doctors about it, the more research and effort will be looked into on it's behalf. This in turn will work on our behalf and the behalf of our unborn, who has a better prognosis under medicines that have been known for thousands of years versus less than one hundred.

    • Marinol carries a greater risk of hallucinations, particularly in people with a history of mental illness. Also, Marinol is pretty much just THC. It doesn't have all the anti-inflammatory and other potentially beneficial compounds found in natural marijuana.

      1 agrees
  13. I understand the term "survivor" in regards to HG. I too have dealt with this life changing diagnosis for both of my pregnancies. I say life changing, because I always dreamt of a large family full of little ones spanning a decade or so of pregnancies and that dream had to go. I was told that I might not survive my next pregnancy. I lost 30 lbs with my daughter and 40 lbs with my son while I was medicated with a subq zofran pump, an IV tree in my bedroom, banana bags daily and still constant nausea and vomiting, I had a nervous breakdown in the waiting room of my OB as I watched some disgustingly glowy pregnant lady (no offense fellow mamas, i heart you and fully celebrate your glow) rub her belly and in bet ween my gasping sobs and retching begged for either an abortion or hospitalization and sedatives. I desperately wanted to try marijauna but I lived in Indiana and knew that if anyone found out, there was a chance I'd lose my kids. I refuse to believe that the zofran, reglan, tigan, phenergan, laxative (because if you're on zofran you NEVER get to poop again), banana bag, steroid cocktail I was on was any safer for my sweet baby than weed.

    1 agrees
    • than you should do your research. marijuana is soooo much safer than phenegran and zofran… if it werent for marijuana my daughter wouldnt be here.

      • She said "I refuse to believe that the zofran…was any safer for my baby than weed."

        She thinks that pot IS safer than the pharm drugs and wishes she could have used the pot, but she couldn't for fear of having her kids taken from her.

        5 agree
  14. I had HG too and I used marijuana throughout my pregnancy. I was underweight when I got pregnant, then lost 15 lbs in the first 2 months. A local midwife recommended it and explained it in this way: "It is far more unhealthy and risky for a fetus to get no nutrients due to your inability to eat and keep anything down than it may or may not be to use marijuana." I couldn't agree more. My baby was not getting what she needed, I wasn't either because all I could do was puke. So I tried it, and wow! I felt GREAT! I could eat again, hold it down, get off the couch, go outside and live life again. I really think that this is something that NEEDS to be studied more. Oh, and my baby was born a healthy 7 lbs 3 oz, I've not seen any side effects in her at all. She's absolutely thriving and flourishing in life :]

    3 agree
  15. I can see how well marijuana would work for a condition like that. I have a broken ankle and weed has helped me cope, both with the pain and extreme loss of appetite i've been dealing with. I've seen marijuana help countless people with a variety of medical conditions. I'm so grateful I live in Canada, where smoking, even without a perscription carries little to no legal risk if you only keep a small amount on you.

    1 agrees
  16. The thing I wonder about, does smoking pot or eating pot make the baby high as well? That worries me. Luckily, I'm 7 months and have finally gained back 2 of the 8 pounds I've lost. Hopefully this will continue for me!

    • there is no studies to show either way…but there ARE studies showing that cannabis helps to re-BUILD (and build) brain cells!!!!

  17. Great article! During my first trimester I was so ill, vomiting all the time, constantly nauseated and fighting acid reflux that burned and tore my throat up. I didnt smoke alot of pot because I was worried about the effects that it might have on the baby. I have known mothers who smoked their entire preganancy, too ward off sickness and to balance their ever raging hormones…with no ill effects on their babies.
    I was still worried though-and so I only smoked a tiny bit when the sickness was at its worst. It def helped me to eat and to hold it down.

  18. I command you for telling your story and everyone who didn't judge. It's so funny how people are willing to judge saying that the prescribed medicine is safer and how long has those medicine been around and what's in them. Just because you believe the hype they want you to believe doesn't mean everyone has to. It also funny how people are willing to trust anyone with a white coat even though they're using us as lab rats. Most of them females don't even know what hyperemesis is because they've never experienced it. It feels like hell not being able to eat or drink not even water, vomit until you see blood. I lost 38 pounds with my son and he was born full term at 5 pounds 10 ounces. Now I'm pregnant again and I'm depressed down 12 pounds so far and I'm considering marijuana. I don't care who judges me but it got to be safer than the zofran, phenergan, reglan that hasn't done crap for me but knock me out so thanks again for your story.

    1 agrees
    • I have to disagree with something you said. A number of my friends are nurses, med students and pharmacists. They're in that career because they want to help. Those drugs work for some people. Drugs have to go through testing before being allowed to be prescribed to people. Someone should be able to talk to their doctor about side effects they don't like. If a doctor doesn't listen, one can always find a new one.
      I'm not judging you. I just took some offense at the white coat comment. I think medicinal marijauna use should be legalized, especially if it can help people not be at risk while pregnant. People have a choice. It's their body, their pregnancy, their child. They're not forced to take medication that doesn't help.

      7 agree
  19. I know plenty of people who smoked marijuana while they were pregnant with their kids and they all have turned out fine. I'm not saying I agree with that, but it helps with the pain and the discomfort women feel when they are pregnant. I stayed away from all drugs when I was pregnant except for something that would take away a headache, but that was just me. It would be safer to use a vaporizer or eat brownies because the smoke is what would be harmful to the child. I think if marijuana is what helps you feel better, then by all means you should be able to use it.

    2 agree
  20. 30 years ago, when my mom (finally, after 2 years of trying) managed to get pregnant and give birth to me, she suffered a similar problem. The only problem was that doctors in my country had no idea what that was. Probably most of them still doesn't.

    After the 2nd month of pregnancy she started vomiting everything she ate. A old woman brought her cannabis leafs (cannabis was legal in my ex-communist country 'till 1994 ) and told her to burn them into a ceramic bowl then inhale that smoke for 5 minutes once a week… Didn't helped as much as it was told.. but she was able to eat (1 thing only) without vomiting: pretzels.

    Well.. she never ate pretzels after i was born.. and to me it took almost 15 years to not vomiting when i feel smell of pretzels. I, also.. still cannot eat pretzels. Heh.. anyway.. this isn't about pretzels…

    The point is: cannabis, somehow, helped. It would have probably helped more if it had been administered in a scientific way, under supervision of a medic.

  21. Hi All,

    I am working on a new British BBC documentary about cannabis and was fascinated by some of the comments posted here. If anyone is based in the UK it would be great to hear from you about your experiences. Please do get in touch for an informal chat on UK 0117 9746861 or

  22. I absolutely loved this entry! I recently wrote on my blog about marijuana use during pregnancy and the greatest study ever done by Dr. Melanie Dreher. I definitely condone the use of MJ during pregnancy, though I agree that smoking can't be that safe. However, you can use a vaporizer and also edibles are wonderful! The pills are not actually MJ, they are a synthetic form of THC (Marinol.) My mother used it for cancer treatment and said it did not compare to the real thing. To each their own, but wanted to drop a line and say I absolutely loved this article!!

    1 agrees
  23. THANK YOU! I was the first among my friends to get pregnant, and at first I did stop smoking cannabis. But then I started getting so sick I couldn't get up. Finally my partner convinced me to just try it again. Without smoking during my 2 pregnancies, I wouldn't have been able to eat! 3 of my friends have been prego since then as well, and share many similar stories.
    Thank you for having the COURAGE AND TENACITY to speak the truths you've discovered! :)

  24. I had terrible "afternoon" sickness… I only smoked one time in my third trimester and WISH I had the "balls' to before that when my nausea I thought would kill me.

    I commend all these ladies for sharing their stories!

  25. I am currently pregnant with my second child and going through HG for the second time. This time around is much worse than the first. I kind of just took it with stride the first go around. This time, I have been using marijuana as a treatment since week 12. I am now at week 21 and my baby is growing perfectly. I don't think this would be the case if I wasn't using marijuana. I am on Zofran, Reglan, B-6, and Phenegran and the marijuana trumps all of these! Because of marijuana, I have been able to stay hydrated, gain weight, sleep at night, vomitting and nausea has virtually stopped…I am going to advocate marijuana to everyone I know that is suffering from HG. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

  26. Hello all! I was the original poster and wanted to let everyone know my daughter was born a healthy 8lbs 9.5oz and will be two in July! She's amazing, and the positive comments you all left are amazing, too!

  27. I too used cannabis as i suffered with hyperemesis in my last two pregnancies. I was already a user and stopped during the first HG experience, as the healthier option. I was hospitalized twice for dehydration. It was with the second HG pregnancy that i accidentally found out that cannabis is an anti-emetic ha! I still got hospitalized however, as i did not want to be stoned during the daytime, when my other children were around; hence the vomiting took its toll eventually. But i did manage to hold the escalation off for longer, therefore not needing anti-emetic medication for as long.

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