More pregnant women are using marijuana, study finds

28 December, 2017, 01:13 | Author: Jeffery Armstrong
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The study, published Tuesday in the "Journal of the American Medical Association", observed a sample of pregnant women in California.

From 2009 to 2016, marijuana use among moms-to-be jumped from 4.2% to 7.1%, the study said. Cannabis use in pregnant teens under 18 increased from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent, while use in women 18 to 24 increased from 9.8 percent to 19 percent.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that some research shows that the effects of marijuana exposure could be long lasting, with marijuana-exposed children more likely to show gaps in problem-solving skills, memory, and the ability to remain focused.

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Though little clear evidence exists on the effects of marijuana on developing human fetuses, animal studies have revealed that it may disrupt brain development.

But data on the actual effects of using marijuana during pregnancy is still unclear.

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. A total of 3.3 percent of women older than 34 also reported to using the drug during their pregnancy in 2016, an increase from 2.1 percent in 2009. The study adds that prenatal use may increase even more in 2018, after recreational use of marijuana is set to become legal in California.

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In spite of its wide use, the new research suggests that pregnant women are still aware of some stigma against them for partaking in a toke or an edible. However, there is insufficient data on link between marijuana use and fetal development.

"For individual patients, I think they need to ask themselves what their goals are for the pregnancy and how they are going to achieve them - essentially make a decision on which camp they are going to be in", she said.

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