How Hyperemesis Gravidarum Led Me to Make the Decision to Medicate with Marijuana

Fern Doe

Before I got pregnant, I was an avid stoner. I enjoyed trying new strains and new ways to consume. There are a lot of them these days: vape pens, concentrates, and any type of edible you can imagine. This ain't your Mama's ditch weed out of a four foot bong anymore! (Well, sometimes it is.)

I always knew I'd stop consuming when I got pregnant, because of course, that's what you do. And besides that, pregnant people get judged for any number of things they do while pregnant—drinking coffee, running, having a glass of wine—and the cannabis judgment would be exponentially worse. So when I finally, enthusiastically, did get pregnant, I happily swore off marijuana for the duration.

Well, along came week 13—when that first trimester morning sickness is supposed to be gone— and I was still throwing up day and night. I had to be hospitalized twice for dehydration. We tried all the pharmaceutical options the doctors offered, but hyperemesis gravidarum is a cruel mistress: nothing worked.

Finally, 20 pounds lighter and unable to enjoy eating, I decided to have an edible. Oh, my! I ate and ate and ate and finally felt full for the first time in months. It was my magic bullet. I confided in a close friend, who turned on me as if I didn’t love my unborn child. After that, I hid my cannabis use from pretty much everyone in my life, and did what I needed to do to keep us nourished.

My baby was born happy and healthy, contrary to the constant social messages that what I did was bad for him. I also continued using cannabis into my postpartum period. I wouldn't have survived the crashing lows and dark thoughts that the hormones bring with them. I survived my pregnancy because of cannabis, and I believe my choice should be just as acceptable as the use of pharmaceuticals.

And luckily, within my friend group I am not alone. There are others like me, hiding in the darkness as though what we're doing—medicating ourselves—is somehow dirty or shameful. It is not. We deserve to treat our illnesses in any way we see fit, and we deserve to be trusted not to endanger our babes.

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