Published: Thu, December 28, 2017
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Study says more pregnant women using marijuana

Study says more pregnant women using marijuana

"Marijuana is [one of] the most commonly used illicit drugs during pregnancy, and its use is increasing", the study says.

A study of mothers-to-be in California found an increase in marijuana use especially among younger women.

Teens and young adults reported a particularly high use of marijuana compared to women over 24. "From 2002 to 2014, the prevalence of self-reported, past-month marijuana use among USA adult pregnant women increased from 2.4 percent to 3.9 percent".

Across all age groups, marijuana use during pregnancy increased from 4 percent at the start of the study to 7 percent by the end.

However, the study notes that some of the patients who did not say they used marijuana on their questionnaires, later tested positive on a cannabis toxicology test, leading researchers to state their data was "likely" underreported. A total of 3.3 percent of women older than 34 also reported to using the drug during their pregnancy in 2016, an increase from 2.1 percent in 2009.

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Despite the trends found in the report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against using marijuana when pregnant, planing to become pregnant and breastfeeding, as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can negatively affect a baby's development.

Kelly Young-Wolff, the study's lead researcher and Dr. Nancy Goler said their study shows how marijuana might potentially harm an unborn child. "California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996, so they have grown up with the idea of it not only not being illegal but being a medical therapy".

Though little clear evidence exists on the effects of marijuana on developing human fetuses, animal studies have revealed that it may disrupt brain development.

"Of concern" to the researchers was that fact that marijuana use was particularly common among younger pregnant women. As of January 1, recreational marijuana will be legal in the state for people over 21.

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