Cannabis as Medicine? Overview

It is utterly mind-blowing that people have no idea that Cannabis has been part of the medical prescription landscape for over 20 years. That’s right T. G. A (Therapeutic Goods Administration) trialled and approved cannabis based medicines have been available as an option to alleviate, if only in small ways, some of the symptoms of a couple of diseases or help with recovery from treatment. However, the claims of this plant being a ‘miracle cure’ for just about everything, have existed for of 100 years… yet in no credible and advanced research has any of the properties of the Cannabis plant ‘cured’ anything, ever!

There is no argument that some components of this incredibly complex plant can have some therapeutic benefit, be it ever so small, but deriving such from the plant with out co-opting some of the more detrimental components has proven incredibly difficult. On top of that, the evidence emerging from latest science, sees that some of these therapies, do more harm than good, with the temporary alleviating of a symptom on one hand, and incurring along term genetic harm on the other!

Again if facts and evidence matter to your best-practice health care, then this is the space for you. Make informed decisions based on science, and not quackery!

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (DSH, DND, DSL) and Hatton Research Institute, TriHealth, Cincinnati, Ohio (CGD).


OBJECTIVES: This study aims to clarify any association between infant birth weight and cannabis use in pregnancy based on urine drug screens.

METHODS: A retrospective medical record review of singleton births from August 2013 through December 2014 with available urine drug screens (UDS) at initiation of prenatal care and delivery was conducted at a large tertiary academic referral center. Patients who used drugs other than cannabis were excluded.

RESULTS: The prevalence of cannabis use in pregnancies not complicated by use of other drugs as evidenced by tetrahydrocannabinol in the urine of 2173 patients was 22.6%. Infants born to mothers who tested positive for only tetrahydrocannabinol in urine at both presentation for prenatal care and delivery were of lower median birth weight compared with those who tested negative [2925 g (IQR 2522-3265) vs 3235 g (IQR 2900-3591), P = <0.001]. There was no clinically relevant difference in gestational age at birth [39.0 weeks (IQR 37.1-40.0) vs 39.3 weeks (IQR 38.3-40.0), P = 0.012] between those positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and those who tested negative. Concomitant tobacco use during pregnancy was not noted to impact infant birth weight using the analysis of covariance. Higher perinatal mortality was observed among those who used cannabis with an adjusted odds ratio of 4.2 (95% CI, 1.53-11.49).


CONCLUSIONS:Cannabis use is negatively correlated with fetal birth weight (up to 450 g less) in patients who tested positive for THC when compared with those who did not as documented in the urine drug screens. On the basis of these findings, additional patient education and cessation interventions should be explored with regard to cannabis use in pregnancy.

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