Are Potentially Legal Psychedelics Safe For Pregnant Women?
Caveat: We do not recommend pregnant women use psychedelics in either therapeutic or recreational settings. There is not enough science or research in this area to make a claim that it is a safe practice. (And we recommend steering clear of anyone who tells you otherwise.)
Several mental health issues may have found a new and promising treatment in the form of potentially legal psychedelics. But should pregnant women abstain from using these wonder drugs?
Pregnancy is a state which involves both the woman and the fetus. Each shares the same bloodstream (through the placenta), and, therefore, involves close attention when intaking any substances. The fetus will absorb most of what a mother intakes, and, when it comes to drugs and medications, the rules are the same.
The concerns with pregnancy are, first and foremost, to prevent causing a potential miscarriage. Secondly, whichever substance — potentially legal psychedelics or not — enters the mother’s bloodstream can easily pass through the placenta to the fetus. This could potentially cause birth defects, developmental issues, addictions, or even neurological damage.
Psilocybin and Pregnancy
Also known as magic mushrooms, psilocybin is a well-known psychedelic that has recently been decriminalized in both Colorado and Oregon. This has also led to groundbreaking discoveries for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression and anxiety. Still, the question of whether a pregnant woman should take it or not is a real one. This involves women struggling with mental issues.
Studies on pregnant women using magic mushrooms have yet to be complete. When they do, it will identify whether the psychedelic increases the chance of birth defects or not. However, a single animal study did show no increased chance of physical birth defects.
There are also no published studies on the long-term effects of using psilocybin during pregnancy. It’s also unknown if it can increase the chance for pregnancy complications or affect a baby’s brain or development.
Even though there are no studies and therefore no evidence that suggests psilocybin can negatively affect pregnancy or the fetus, the psychological effects on the pregnant woman can impair her judgment and mental state. Since they affect each person differently, it’s hard to predict how it will affect their mental state, and therefore, present a potential risk to the pregnancy itself.
Esketamine (Spravato) and Pregnancy
The nasal form of ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic also classified as a hallucinogen, is an FDA-approved and regulated ketamine treatment done in most ketamine clinics. Even though the FDA has not assigned a pregnancy category to esketamine, the pharmaceutical provider Spravato suggests pregnant women should avoid the drug.
Therefore, other antidepressants, such as an SSRI or bupropion, are most suitable for depression during pregnancy. Medication changes should be made prior to pregnancy, and should be on a case-by-case basis. Still, a pregnant woman’s health provider will always be the best to assess the situation, and can provide further information about the safety of psychedelics.
Other Potentially Legal Psychedelics
The future of psychedelics looks bright, and decriminalization may occur in several U.S. states in the coming years. However, they still have yet to become legalized. For this reason, pregnant women should avoid any types of psychedelics.
In pregnancy, the health of both the mother and the fetus is the most important thing. When it comes to taking potentially legal psychedelics, we still need much more research to understand the safety for pregnant women.