Marijuana Use Doubles In U.S. Pregnant Women To 1 In 14, Mostly In 1st Trimester

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
Marijuana Pregnant Women
Ganja. Photo: Carlos Gracia Flickr

Marijuana use among pregnant women in the U.S. has doubled, and it’s being used mostly in the first trimester to combat nausea, pain and depression, a government study shows.

Seven percent pregnant women — one in 14 – responded that they used weed in a national health survey carried out in 2016 and 2017. That’s up from slightly more than 3 percent of pregnant women in 2002-to-2003. First-trimester use jumped from 6 percent to 12 percent in the same period, according to researchers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The study was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The effect of using marijuana during pregnancy is not yet clear. When tested on animals, some studies show it could lead to premature birth and fetal brain abnormalities, according to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA.

In Canada, a study of women and their babies showed that pregnant pot users were slightly less likely to develop gestational diabetes and the high blood pressure disorder called preeclampsia.

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Pot use has increased in North America as its legalization made it more socially acceptable.

“These two studies send a straightforward message: Cannabis use in pregnancy is likely unsafe. Its potential for harm may represent a public health problem,” Marie McCullough wrote in a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial.