Published: Thu, December 28, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Pot use among pregnant women rising, study says

Pot use among pregnant women rising, study says

Cannabis use in pregnant teens under 18 increased from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent, while use in women 18 to 24 increased from 9.8 percent to 19 percent. Pregnant women who reported to have consumed marijuana in the past month jumped from 2.37 percent to 3.85 percent from 2002 to 2014.

The publication said, however, that the data are limited and come from self-reported surveys and "likely underestimate use due to social desirability bias and underreporting".

Overall there was a rise from around 4 percent to around 7 percent, researchers from healthcare consortium, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, found.

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The data come from toxicology reports and a combination of self-reports in which pregnant females say they have used marijuana and positive toxicology reports.

Many pregnant women are turning to the drug to treat morning sickness or anxiety associated with pregnancy.

California was the fist state in the USA to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.

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Officials in Colorado, where recreational pot was legalized, have warned women not to smoke it during pregnancy, Gizmodo reported.

Kelly Young-Wolff, the study's lead researcher and Dr. Nancy Goler said their study shows how marijuana might potentially harm an unborn child.

"Of concern" to the researchers was that fact that marijuana use was particularly common among younger pregnant women.

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Doctors caution that the health effects of marijuana on a fetus remain unclear but could include low birth weight and developmental problems, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California will make recreational marijuana legal in 2018. "So I think the idea that use is rising is just because of the greater legal exposure to marijuana that women have today versus 20 years ago".

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