More Pregnant Women Smoking Cannabis in California

More moms-to-be are turning to cannabis while pregnant to help with morning sickness or anxiety according to a new research letter published by the Journal of the American Medical Association

The study authors wanted to find out how how common marijuana use was among pregnant women. To do that, they looked at more than 30,000 anonymous medical records of women who were enrolled in an insurance plan to Kaiser Permanente - the country's single-largest HMO. 

As part of a pre-natal check-up at 8 weeks, pregnant women were asked to fill out a medical questionnaire and submit to a voluntary drug screening. Researchers used this data to see how often pregnant women admitted to using marijuana and how many actually tested positive for it during their term. 

During the seven-year reporting period between 2009 and 2016, the percentage of pregnant women (self-reported or testing positive) almost doubled from 4.2 percent to 7.1 percent. When those numbers were broken down by age, there's a clear generational gap. By 2016, 19 percent of moms between the ages of 18 to 24 admitted to smoking weed and an incredible 21.8 percent of teen moms tested positive for pot. 

While people's attitude about cannabis have shifted from Reefer Madness to recreational marijuana, scientists say there are legitimate concerns over how dangerous the drug could be for younger people whose brains haven't fully developed. Low birth weight and other health problems have also been linked to marijuana use during pregnancy. However, no clear links were found after a review was conducted of 31 studies. Scientists suggested those problems could be linked to things like smoking tobacco which is also common among marijuana users. 

The study authors concluded that the trend of cannabis use among pregnant women was likely to increase after California legalizes recreational marijuana. 

“In California, medical marijuana was legalized in 1996, and prenatal use may further escalate in 2018 when recreational marijuana is available legally."

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content