Recent research indicates that cannabis use has significantly increased for young pregnant women.

It is no novelty that women use cannabis to cope with pregnancy symptoms - from morning nausea to anxiety related to the expectation of the birth of a child. However, new research shows that the number of future mothers in America that use cannabis has grown significantly in recent years. The number of pregnant women who use cannabis has increased from 4.2% to 7.1% in 2009-2016.

The research was published on December 26, 2017. in JAMA Journal, and the data came from 279,457 pregnant women in Northern California. In addition to completing the questionnaire on the use of cannabis by future mothers, they were subjected to a toxicological test during prenatal visits. After the eighth month of pregnancy, each woman was examined for cannabinoids in the body.

The most important finding was that marijuana use among young pregnant women, aged 18 and over, increased from 12.5% to 21.8% in five years. The use of cannabis in the 18-24 age group has also increased, from 9.8% to 19%.

Although the study only concerned future mothers in California, previous JAMA studies suggest that cannabis use increases throughout the United States during pregnancy. In a January study, it was shown that marijuana consumption among pregnant women aged 18 to 44 increased from 2.37% in 2002. up to 3.85% in 2014.
Did legal marijuana increase marijuana use by pregnant women?

In the nineties, California legalized medical marijuana. From the first of January 2018. you can now legally buy marijuana for recreational purposes.

"The research is not surprising, and the increase in marijuana consumption during pregnancy is consistent with the recent attention to the legalization of cannabis in various states," says Dr. Haywood Brown of the Duke University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

"Think about using marijuana from their point of view, especially in Northern California. California in 1996 It legalized the medical use of marijuana, so they grew up with the idea that it is not only legal, but also has healing properties. "

On the other hand, research has not shown why marijuana use in pregnant women has increased. According to the authors of the study, Kelly Young-Wolff, the researchers had no way of knowing whether the women in the study used cannabis before they found out they were pregnant. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) contained in hemp can be detected in the urine even after 90 days from the last intake. Young-Wolf claims that "it is possible, but it is unlikely that some toxicological tests have shown the presence of THC when women used marijuana without being pregnant."
Can marijuana threaten the developing fetus?

These findings regarding pregnant women are certainly worrisome. Finally, studies have been carried out that showed that marijuana consumption during pregnancy can be harmful to infants, resulting in low birth weight and developmental problems. But there are also studies that say differently.

Probably the most comprehensive study on the use of marijuana during pregnancy was made by Dr. Melanie Dreher in the 1980s. Studies have shown that infants who were exposed to cannabis scored higher in reflex tests than infants we did not use in pregnant cannabis. Dreher examined children again at the age of four and five years and did not observe any changes in IQ or behavior compared to children who were not exposed to cannabis.

Another study conducted by Dr. Shayna Conner took place in 2016. She found that using marijuana during pregnancy did not increase the risk of adverse health effects compared to alcohol and tobacco.

Other studies published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal have shown that pregnant mom's use of marijuana is completely safe for the developing fetus.

According to the authors of the study, the consumption of marijuana during pregnancy does not adversely affect the probability of premature delivery or the birth of a child with low body weight. There was also an increased risk of miscarriage or birth of a child smaller than normal for his gestational age.

Researchers analyzed data from 31 studies on pregnant women. There were over 130,000, of which about 8,000 of them consumed marijuana during pregnancy.