Ginger or Cannabis for Morning Sickness

Image Credit: Ilona / Pixabay. This image has been modified.

Nausea and vomiting are common during pregnancy, affecting 70 to 85 percent of women worldwide—but not in all countries. Population groups that eat more plant-based diets tend to have little or no nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. In fact, on a nationwide basis, the lowest reported rates in the world are in India at only 35 percent.

Sometimes symptoms are so severe it can become life threatening, a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Each year more than 50,000 pregnant women are hospitalized for this condition. What can we do other than reduce our intake of saturated fat––for example, cutting the odds five-fold by cutting out one daily cheeseburger’s worth?

As I discuss in my video Natural Treatments for Morning Sickness, the “best available evidence suggests that ginger is a safe and effective treatment for PNV,” pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting. The recommended dose is a gram of powdered ginger a day, which is about a half-teaspoon or equivalent to about a full teaspoon of grated fresh ginger or four cups of ginger tea. The maximum recommended daily dose is four grams, no more than about two teaspoons of powdered ginger a day.

“[C]annabis was rated as extremely effective or effective by 92 percent” of the pregnant women who used it for morning sickness, but cannabis use during pregnancy may be  regarded as potentially harmful to the developing fetus. This is not your mother’s marijuana. “Today’s marijuana is 6 to 7 times more potent than in the 1970s” and may cause problems for both the developing fetus and then later for the developing child. The bottom line is that pregnant and breastfeeding cannabis users should be “advised to either decrease or where possible cease cannabis use entirely.”

What do they mean by “where possible”? Under what circumstances would it not be possible? People don’t realize how bad it can get. One woman observed that during her second pregnancy, “I was throwing up first the acid in my stomach, which is yellow, then it’s orange because it’s the outer layer, and then you get to the green bile which is [from] your intestines. Then once you’re past that, you go straight blood.” Indeed, hyperemesis gravidarum can lead to such violent vomiting that you can rupture your esophagus, bleed into your eyes, go blind, or become comatose. So, there are certain circumstances in which cannabis could be a lifesaver for both the mother and the baby, as women with this condition sometimes understandably choose to terminate otherwise wanted pregnancies.

People have long asked me to do videos about medical marijuana. But, because of the stigma, only recently have a substantial number of clinical studies been published. But that’s now changed. I’ve got a whole DVD full of cannabis videos that will be spread out over the next few years on but you can watch them all streaming now if you can’t wait.

What else can ginger do? See:

What’s my favorite way to eat ginger? See Dr. Greger’s Natural Nausea Remedy Recipe.

Other healthy pregnancy videos include:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

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