Published: Thu, December 28, 2017
Medical | By Josefina Yates

Marijuana: Pregnant Women Are Using More Cannabis, Says New Study

Marijuana: Pregnant Women Are Using More Cannabis, Says New Study

Marijuana use among pregnant mothers in California rose from 4.2 percent to 7.1 percent from 2009-2016.

The study suggests that more women tend to use marijuana sometimes to sooth anxiety and morning sickness.

In many states, medical marijuana can be prescribed for treating conditions including severe nausea and pain - both of which may affect pregnant women - but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women stay away from weed if they want to have a baby. Cannabis use in pregnant teens under 18 increased from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent, while use in women 18 to 24 increased from 9.8 percent to 19 percent. Last year, 5.1 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 34 years old reported to using marijuana while pregnant, up from 3.4 percent in 2009.

The publication said, however, that the data are limited and come from self-reported surveys and "likely underestimate use due to social desirability bias and underreporting".

Yankey added that the effects of marijuana use on a fetus depends on dosage and frequency of consumption.

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The legalization of marijuana may have contributed to the increase in use found by the study, KABC reported.

"Pregnant women or women contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy for which there are better pregnancy-specific safety data". The women were treated at Kaiser Permanente facilities that had screening for marijuana use as part of standard prenatal care.

However, the institute says more research must be done to determine which effects are related to marijuana exposure and which are related to environmental factors that could be associated with the mother's marijuana use, such as poverty or other drug use.

Along with advising against marijuana use, doctors have long advised pregnant women to avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy. California will make recreational marijuana legal in 2018.

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