More pregnant women in California using pot, per new study

  • More pregnant women in California using pot, per new study

More pregnant women in California using pot, per new study

A new study included more than 300,000 pregnant women receiving care from Kaiser Permanente Northern California, one of the state's largest healthcare systems. With the upcoming legalization, that number is sure to soar. 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.

Although most of the almost 280,000 pregnant Californians who participated in the Kaiser Permanent study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association did not test positive for pot or admit to using it, a small and growing number of them did. While there's definitely more research on the effects of tobacco use during pregnancy (because it's just been widely legal for a lot longer), the preliminary research on marijuana use doesn't raise enough alarm to warn against weed with the same intensity as tobacco for pregnant women.

"California is a little different in that we were the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996", Young-Wolff told Newsweek.

But the researchers believe that urine samples are likely to provide the most accurate picture of marijuana use in pregnancy, because people tend to hesitate about admitting such behaviors. The survey contained questions about their use of marijuana within the past month. Given the fact that marijuana has the potential to have a negative impact a baby's developing brain, ACOG recommends that doctors caution women against using marijuana while trying to conceive, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. In the last decade, the number of pregnant women seeking treatment for marijuana use has increased sharply, according to a study published in the March/April, 2015 issue of the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

Rates of use were highest among the young, and dropped steadily as age rose during pregnancy, the researchers said.

The women who were asked to complete the study were in the early part of their pregnancy.

Researchers have observed a disturbing trend among pregnant women.

Morning sickness affects a significant percentage of pregnant women.

Animal studies have shown that when mothers who are pregnant or nursing have even moderate concentrations of THC (the mind-altering ingredient that's in cannabis), it can lead to long-lasting effects on the child, including increasing stress responsivity and abnormal patterns of social interactions.

Whatever the reasons, the findings could be bad news for babies, since "initial evidence suggests that prenatal marijuana may impair fetal growth and neurodevelopment", Young-Wolff's group said.