Thelegal history of cannabis in the United States traces back to thebeginning of the 20th Century (Caulkins,2012).The leading efforts were in Oregon and individual states followed theaccord of legalizing cannabis. The process of legalizing cannabisoriginated from liberalizing marijuana laws by decriminalizing ofrecreational cannabis and legalizing specific usages of marijuana(Caulkins,2012).Such specific usages include legalization of medical marijuana fornon-recreational usages. However, to begin with, the usage ofmarijuana for either recreational or medicinal purpose remainslargely illegal under the federal law. However, the various statestake up their independent powers to define and form laws that willinstruct and regulate cannabis usage within their territory. Despitethe decades and laws to govern the usage of cannabis by the citizens,the nation’s attitude towards marijuana usage has hugely changedover the years. Only a twelve percent of the populace supported thelegalization of marijuana in 1969 as compared to the fifty-eightpercent of the population deeming it necessary to legalize marijuanain 2013 (Caulkins,2012).There are 25 states that have legalized medical marijuana,Massachusetts being one of them. Not only is the legalization ofcannabis a concerning topic in the States, but other nations alsohead the same tunnel to legalize the specified uses of marijuana. Thecontention lies between legalization of medicinal marijuana andlegalization for recreational purposes. All over the world, the oldresolve against marijuana is crumbling as there are variousdetermined policy makers who want marijuana to have no lawrestrictions (Caulking,2012).
Effectsof Marijuana: Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Recreationalmarijuana seems to be socially accepted norm within the variouscommunities. To such, it is not strange to find school children inpossession of rolls of marijuana. Additionally, the trend is alsocultivating among the pregnant women. The laxity of smoking marijuanawith no clearly explained effects to the fetus allows pregnantfemales to smoke without the slightest consideration of thewell-being of their unborn. Scientific advances indicate that highconsumption levels of THC initiate negative brain development. Theexposure to the THC to the fetus leaves them vulnerable even at avery early encounter with the THC. The young, urban, and mostlysocially disadvantaged women end up continuing with marijuana smokingonce they get pregnant. Medical doctors link various medicalconditions with marijuana, and they believe the continued usage ofmarijuana among the pregnant women results to an increase of the risklevel of the diseases. Some of the highlighted medical conditions arestill birth, a small length of the baby, premature birth, tiny headcircumference, and low weight birth (Briggs,2011).However, the babies born to mothers who continually smoke marijuanado not always start the new life with the defects, but the fact thattheir mothers smoke increases the risks of the baby for these andeven additional complications.
Marijuanausage after the birth of the baby exposes the baby to additionalcomplications that lie entirely as health risks. Almost all babiesexposed to marijuana while in their mothers’ wombs go to withdrawalafter the birth. Apart from drug withdrawal symptoms, the born babiesdevelop symptoms show the noted effects of babies exposed tocannabis. Symptoms and illnesses such as constant trembling, adifferent response mechanism to visualization, and high-pitched crywill be present in babies whose mothers still smoke marijuana afterthe birth of the infant (Briggs,2011).
Themost rampant misconception regarding marijuana usage concerns isvaping. Vaping and vape pens use water vapor to abuse marijuanainstead of direct smoke. The young mothers may hence believe thatvaping will be of no harm to their pregnancy. However, despite theintake method, the harming ingredient is the THC that never leavesthe marijuana even in vaping.
Istrongly urge the policy makers in the various states to reconsiderthe recreational marijuana bill. With the continued increase on thelegalization of recreational marijuana usage, it is evident that therecreational marijuana usage will be on the rise in the variousstates. The future mothers are scarcely informed of the consequencesof their smoking habits and the apparent danger that the THC does totheir babies. Information circulation and awareness should be theleading campaign in the fight to legalize marijuana usage as theinformation will greatly help the pregnant mothers to make informedchoices, more so placing the health of the infants as the highestpriority (Chasnoff,2012).
Iwould support to stop the legal support for recreational usage of themarijuana due to the open and little known detrimental results fromthe marijuana usage across the pregnant female divide. Additionally,the pregnant women should not fear to reveal to the doctors theirbehavior of smoking weeds as the information revealed early enoughwill greatly help the doctors make informed decisions to help protectthe baby from the detrimental THC. It is evident that marijuana usein pregnancy is not preferable. Altering the societal attitudestowards marijuana will be the first step of curbing its devastatingeffects to the unborn babies. The prevalent increasing campaign forthe legalization of marijuana does not change the fact that theunborn baby is wholly independent of its mother for nutrients,oxygen, hormonal balance, and other requirements needed to raise anormal baby. Hence, interrupting the normal fetal to maternalconnecting by smoking marijuana disrupts the normal provisions to thebaby, placing the pregnancy at risk and the overall health of theunborn baby under jeopardy (Chasnoff,2012).
Briggs,G. G., Freeman, R. K., & Yaffe, S. J. (2011). Drugsin pregnancy and lactation: A reference guide to fetal and neonatalrisk.Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams &Wilkins.
Caulkins,J. P., Hawken, A., Kilmer, B., & Kleiman, M. (2012). Marijuanalegalization: What everyone needs to know.
Chasnoff,I. J. (2012). DrugUse in Pregnancy: Mother and Child.Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.