Pregnant Women and Marijuana Use Is on the Rise in California

A new study in California suggests that there’s a slight rise in marijuana use amongst pregnant women

More pregnant women have been using pot as a remedy for sickness. Sometimes it’s to ease the nausea of morning sickness, anxiety or overall body pain. A new U.S. study suggests marijuana use is expanding fast among teens and young adults.

After examining 279,457 mothers-to-be, 12 and older, who were in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California healthcare system, the results showed a climb from 4.2% to 7.1% from 2009 through 2016. This is according to a research letter published in the journal JAMA on Tuesday. In addition, pregnant teens younger than 18, climbed from 12.5% to 21.8%. While young teens ages 18 to 24 increased from 9.8% to 19%.

A Study on Marijuana Use

Pregnant Women are using marijuana for illness
Kaiser Permanente’s Fresno Medical Center programs and services are designed with the diversity of our community in mind. via Physician Careers

The participants were given questionnaires about their marijuana use and took a cannabis toxicology test. The women were also screened for their marijuana use at roughly eight weeks’ gestation. Researchers found that the prevalence of marijuana use, based on self-reports or toxicology results, soared among all age groups. However, the biggest rise was among those 24 and younger.“We were concerned to find that the prevalence of marijuana use in pregnancy is increasing more quickly among younger females, aged 24 and younger.”For other age groups, the researchers found that marijuana use rose from 3.4% to 5.1% among women 25 to 34 and from 2.1% to 3.3% among women older than 34. The study findings coincide with a separate study of pregnant women across the United States, also published in JAMA in January.

Be Cautious 

Pregnant women are using weed as a relief
The chemical THC found in marijuana can cross over the placenta very easily, allowing for effects that are stronger than to a grown adult, to occur. via Rehab Center

Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned that the health effects of marijuana use on a fetus remain unclear but could include low birth weight and developmental problems. Many of the chemicals in marijuana, like tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, could pass from the mother to her baby. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends discontinuing marijuana use for medicinal purposes.There is also “insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding.” However, in the absence of this data, marijuana use is discouraged

Limited Test Results

Pregnant women have it tough to probably test usage of marijuana
Get test results in minutes with the At Home Drug Test kit from New Choice™. It’s fast to use and has easy-to-understand visuals and instructions. via Leafly

“Marijuana is detectable in urine approximately 30 days after last use and this varies with the heaviness of use and marijuana potency,” she said. “it is possible, but unlikely, that some toxicology tests identified prepregnancy use.”The findings were limited to data on pregnant women within one health care system in a limited geographic area of California. DR. Haywood Brown, a professor at Duke Universtiy was not surprised at all. The findings in marijuana use during pregnancy is consistent with recent attention to marijuana and legalization in various states. Also, women not only self-reported marijuana use but were screened for marijuana.As the study showed the highest increase in marijuana use among women 24 and younger. This may hold clues as to why there has been an overall increase.

Californians Views

If you think about marijuana use from their perspective. Especially in Northern California. California legalized medical marijuana use in 1996. They have grown up with the idea of it not only not being illegal but being a medical therapy.Kelly Young-Wolff is a  licensed clinical psychologist and research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. Young-Wolff wrote in an email:“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.”