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Study Shows High Use Of Marijuana Among Pregnant Women

A recent study showed that marijuana use among pregnant women is increasing, especially among those who are younger.

California – A new study has found that smoking marijuana is increasing among pregnant women in California, which leads to health concerns about the unborn child.

The study was published on Dec. 26 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, according to Fox News, and used the medical records of 279,000 women residing in California who were on Kaiser Permanente, a health care service.

Women who agreed to participate were asked to answer a questionnaire when they were about eight weeks pregnant, and take a drug test to see if they tested positive for marijuana use. In the study, researchers found that marijuana consumption among pregnant women in the state has risen from 2009 to 2016 from 4.2 percent to 7.1 percent.

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

“Our study is important because it addressed key limitations of prior studies by investigating trends in prenatal marijuana use using data from a large California health care system with gold standard universal screening for prenatal marijuana use,” Goler and Young-Wolff told Reuters.

“We were concerned to find that the prevalence of marijuana use in pregnancy is increasing more quickly among younger females, aged 24 and younger, and to see the high prevalence of use in this age group,” Young-Wolff said.

Both Young-Wolff and Goler noted marijuana was the “most commonly used illegal drug during pregnancy,” and could “impair fetal growth and neuro-development,” Reuters reported.

Marijuana use may be on the rise because recent legalization of its recreational use in some states “has made people think of the drug as less dangerous, even during pregnancy,” according to Barbara Yankey, a researcher at Georgia State University.

“Because of the possibility of concurrent use of marijuana and other substances of abuse, the evidence of its direct association with preterm labor, fetal growth restriction, preterm birth, low birthweight and stillbirth is still debatable, though these adverse effects lean more towards an increased likelihood of occurrence,” Yankey said.

“The more we study cannabis use during pregnancy, the more we are realizing how harmful it can be,” Dr. Marcel Bonn-Miller, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia said. She was not involved in the study.

In the study, drug tests sometimes revealed marijuana use that patients didn’t disclose on the questionnaires, and some women who reported drug use passed the screening tests, the study found.

It’s possible, but unlikely, that some lab tests revealed drug use before pregnancy because marijuana can be detected up to about 30 days after the last use, researchers note. The results of drug screening early in pregnancy also might not reflect what happens for the remainder of pregnancy, according to Reuters.

Young-Wolff and Goler said the amount of marijuana consumed and how often a person uses it is a factor.

Both researchers did not condone the consumption of marijuana during pregnancy.

California will make recreational marijuana possession legal in 2018.

Do you think that marijuana use while pregnant should be a crime? Or is this none of the government’s business? We’d like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.

GinnyReed - December Wed, 2017

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