Study Reveals Marijuana Use Has Increased Among Pregnant Women


More pregnant women in the United States are making use of cannabis, particularly in their first trimester, as per a new study which has been published in the JAMA journal. As per this report, the use of marijuana by pregnant women in the past month has risen overall to 7% in 2017 in comparison to 3.4% in 2002.

Specifically, in the first three months of pregnancy, the past-month use of marijuana has gone up from 5.7% to 12.1%. Consistently pregnant women have reported that they use marijuana more in the first trimester compared to the second or third trimesters.

Researchers looked at the data of 4,400 pregnant and 133,900 non-pregnant women who were in the age bracket of 12 and 44 and had taken pat in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. These participants were asked questions regarding their pregnancy status, past-month use of marijuana, the number of days they had used marijuana in the past month, and about the daily or approx. daily use of the drug.

Following conclusions were drawn about their daily or near daily use of marijuana:

  • Daily use had gone up to 3.4% from 0.9%
  • In the first trimester, it had increased from 1.8% to 5.3%
  • In the second trimester, it had increased from 0.6% to 2.5%
  • Similarly, in the third trimester as well use had increased from 0.5% to 2.5%

Compared to 2002, when the average number of days marijuana was used on average an overall of 0.4 to 1.1 days in the first trimester, in 2017 it was 0.8 to 2 days. It was found that in between the years 2013 and 2017, only 0.5% of marijuana used was recommended by doctors. Most women use cannabis for curbing the symptoms of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy as per a survey conducted by Miss Grass magazine on Mother’s Day.

Though cannabis use has been legalized in most states of America, clinicians are not in the favor of its use during pregnancy. While more research is needed on the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy and it is not clear how it affects the fetus, it has been found that marijuana use during pregnancy can cause developmental problems in the baby.

Since it is the first trimester in which the fetus forms organs, most birth defects occur at this time. And this research shows that most women use marijuana during the first trimester of their pregnancy which is why the drug’s effects on the fetus are more pronounced. Another report which was published in the Experimental Biology journal had concluded that marijuana use negatively impacts the brain of the babies.

Keeping in view that endocannabinoids are necessary for brain development, any interference of THC in the process can have adverse effects. The authors of the JAMA report discussed concluded, “This study highlights the importance of screening and interventions for cannabis use among all pregnant women.”


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