Medical

Study says more pregnant women using marijuana

Study says more pregnant women using marijuana

According to the research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, "the prevalence of self-reported, past-month marijuana use among United States adult pregnant women increased from 2.4 percent to 3.9 percent".

There is also a notable uptick from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent in the use of marijuana among pregnant Californian teens younger than 18, the researchers found. For women in the 18 to 24 age bracket, marijuana usage spiked from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent in that same period.

Younger mothers-to-be were more likely to smoke marijuana.

The CDC says marijuana's effects on a fetus are not clear. 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.

Prenatal exposure to marijuana has been associated with low birth weight, impaired brain development, and effects on behaviour.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has also cautioned against the use of marijuana among pregnant women, instead recommending alternative medicinal therapies.

The researchers found that the prevalence of marijuana use, based on self-reports or toxicology results, soared among all age groups, but the biggest rise was among those 24 and younger.

"Marijuana is detectable in urine approximately 30 days after last use and this varies with heaviness of use and marijuana potency", she said.

One experts speculates that the rise might be partially explained by the increased availability of legal marijuana in recent years.

Barbara Yankey, a researcher at Georgia State University, told Reuters marijuana use may be on the rise because of the recent legalization of its recreational use "has made people think of the drug as less unsafe, even during pregnancy".

Kelly Young-Wolff, the study's lead researcher and Dr. Nancy Goler said their study shows how marijuana might potentially harm an unborn child. There are those who want to reduce risks of bad things happening to as close to zero as possible and improve outcomes any way they can.