Delta 8 And Pregnancy

Written by Robert Hammell

Hemp derived cannabinoids are legal in the US thanks to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.[1] However, just because something is legal does not always make it healthy or safe for individuals to consume. This is especially true for pregnant women, who have to be especially cautious in order to protect the health of their unborn child. Some women argue that cannabis is a safe way to deal with morning sickness while pregnant, but there is a concern that the risks greatly outnumber the benefits. This is especially true for delta 8, though cannabis generally is not recommended for pregnant women.


Cannabis’s Associated Risks While Pregnant

The FDA strongly recommends avoiding cannabis during pregnancy, and no amount of cannabis consumption has been proven safe for unborn children.[2] This is especially true with the cannabis available in today’s market. Due to consumer pressure, cannabis potency has been rising since the 1970s, making it nearly impossible to find a milder version that may be safe to consume.[3] Additionally, with hundreds of possible combinations of cannabinoids, it is difficult to predict how any stain may affect an unborn child, but probably none of the effects are positive. Everything that the mother ingests is eventually passed on to the embryo through the placenta, and while cannabis may not do too much damage to the mother’s fully formed brain, that is not true of brain tissue that is still developing. Cannabis consumption during pregnancy has been linked to long-term brain development problems, preterm births, low birth weights, and stillbirths.[4] For the health of the baby, it is much safer for the mother to avoid cannabis entirely.


Additional Risks Associated with Delta 8

Delta 8 poses its own unique challenges for expecting mothers, above those stemming from cannabis in general. For starters, though delta 8 is legal, that does not necessarily confirm that it is regulated. As of this writing, the FDA has yet to authorize any delta 8 products that are safe for anyone to consume, especially pregnant women.[5] Additionally, multiple states have chosen to ban delta 8 entirely until safety standards for its products can be established.[6] This is because there is a lot of uncertainty about what other additional substances they may contain that are leftover byproducts from their development. One study found that not only are delta 8 products often incorrectly labeled in terms of their potency (as high as 40% below advertised) many products have been found to contain heavy metals in them as well.[7] This is not healthy for adults, but it is especially concerning for under-developed fetuses. Heavy metal exposure has been demonstrated to increase the risk of birth defects and stillbirths, compounding the risks associated with general cannabis use while pregnant.[8] So while cannabis consumption is something expecting mothers should avoid, this is even more true with delta 8 products, as the risk associated is even higher for the baby.

Reference List

  1. Farm Bill. (n.d.). USDA. https://www.usda.gov/farmbill

  2. Office of the Commissioner. (2019, October 16). What You Should Know About Using Cannabis, Including CBD, When Pregnant or Breastfeeding. U.S. Food And Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-should-know-about-using-cannabis-including-cbd-when-pregnant-or-breastfeeding

  3. Cascini, Fidelia, Carola Aiello, and GianLuca Di Tanna. “Increasing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC) content in herbal cannabis over time: systematic review and meta-analysis.” Current drug abuse reviews 5.1 (2012): 32-40.

  4. El Marroun, Hanan, et al. “An epidemiological, developmental and clinical overview of cannabis use during pregnancy.” Preventive medicine 116 (2018): 1-5.

  5. Office of the Commissioner. (2022, May 4). 5 Things to Know about Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol – Delta-8 THC. U.S. Food And Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/5-things-know-about-delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol-delta-8-thc

  6. Kruger, J.S., Kruger, D.J. Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC’s nicer younger sibling?. J Cannabis Res 4, 4 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-021-00115-8

  7. Nachnani, R., Raup-Konsavage, W.M. & Vrana, K.E. The Rise and Risk of Delta-8 THC (Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol). Curr Addict Rep 9, 622–629 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-022-00456-1

  8. Lead & Other Heavy Metals – Reproductive Health | NIOSH | CDC. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/heavymetals.html

About the author

Robert Hammell