Survey Predicts More Women Are Using Marijuana During Pregnancy

A research letter published in research JAMA on Dec. 26 reported that 7.1 percent of pregnant women in California used marijuana while pregnant at 2016 — a 2.9 percentage point increase from 2012, CNN reports.

Teens and young adults reported the particularly higher use of marijuana compared to girls over 24. Cannabis use in elderly teens under 18 increased from 12.5% to 21.8 percent, while consumption in girls 18 to 24 increased from 9.8% to 19 percent.

Women Are Using Marijuana During Pregnancy
Women Are Using Marijuana During Pregnancy

Another study published in January confirmed the uptrend nationally. Pregnant women who reported to have been used marijuana from recent jumped from 2.37 percent to 3.85 percent from 2002 to 2014. The analysis was conducted on girls aged 18 to 44 throughout the U.S.

The Usage spike in marijuana use can be attributed to easier access, reduced stigma and the supposed health benefits of the plant.

Marijuana During Pregnancy

“Consider marijuana usage from [the study participants’] perspective, particularly in Northern California,” said Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the University of Texas, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996, so they have grown up with the idea of it not only not being prohibited but being a medical treatment.”

But information on the real ramifications of using marijuana while pregnant remains unclear. Dr. Yasmin Heard, a neuroscientist, and director of addiction treatment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan say prenatal marijuana exposure can affect fetal development.

“Those are important for regulation of emotions and reward, even motor function and cognition.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists dissuade using marijuana during pregnancy because of its links to other developmental difficulties. However, there are insufficient data on the connection between marijuana use and fetal development.

“Due to this possibility of concurrent usage of marijuana and other substances of abuse, the evidence of its immediate association with preterm labor, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirth is still debatable, though these adverse effects lean more towards an increased likelihood of incidence,” general health researcher Barbara Yankey told Reuters in an email.

Yankey added the consequences of marijuana use on a fetus is dependent upon dosage and frequency of ingestion.

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