In a study released early this week, researchers announced that more moms-to-be are using marijuana than in previous years. The findings appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday. According to the published figures, the number of surveyed women admitting to marijuana use during pregnancy rose to 7% in 2016 – 2017. This is an increase from the 2002 – 2003 findings, where only 3% of pregnant women admitted to using the drug.
The number of women using marijuana during first trimester doubled as well, growing from 6% to 12% during the same survey years. Although, researchers advise some of these numbers reflect drug use that occurred prior to a positive pregnancy test.
So What’s Safe?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no amount of marijuana use — including methods like eating, drinking and topical application — is considered safe during pregnancy. In fact, the CDC advises the potential for adverse reactions are so high, moms-to-be should avoid secondhand smoke as well.
Many of the concerns surrounding pot use in pregnancy stem from the fact that chemicals like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are passed through the mother’s system and onto the system of the still-developing fetus. THC is believed to cause complications to fetal development, as well as problems after delivery, such as low birth weight and attention or learning disorders.
The exact consequences of pot use during pregnancy aren’t fully known yet. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and one of the authors of the study, advised against using the new data to determine how dangerous marijuana use during pregnancy may actually be, citing a lack of studies with conclusive evidence of the effects of pot on human health.
A Look at the Stats
The study, which surveyed nearly 500,000 women across the United States, also reported an increase in pot use among women who aren’t currently pregnant, as well. Reported use rose from 7% to 12% in 2016 – 2017.
Currently 10 U.S. states have legalized marijuana use in some capacity, but possession and use of the drug still remains illegal at the federal level.
You can view the complete study and accompanying report on the Journal of the American Medical Association’s website.