New study reveals more pregnant women are using marijuana

New study reveals more pregnant women are using marijuana

"From 2002 to 2014, the prevalence of self-reported, past-month marijuana use among USA adult pregnant women increased from 2.4 percent to 3.9 percent". The study was conducted on women aged 18 to 44 across the U.S. Numerous chemicals in marijuana, like tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, could pass through a mother's system to her baby.

The data come from toxicology reports and a combination of self-reports in which pregnant females say they have used marijuana and positive toxicology reports.

The research published Tuesday involved only certain women in California, according to CNN.

The women were screened for marijuana use at approximately eight weeks' gestation.

The researcher said the amount of marijuana consumed and how often a person uses it is a factor.

Pot-use among the study subjects climbed from 4.2 percent to 7.1 percent from 2009 through 2016. 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.

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

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For instance, moms-to-be younger than 18 years were only 1.4% of the overall sample in the study, but 18 to 24 were 15.8%, 25 to 34 were 61.6%, and older than 34 were 21.2%.

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

In many states, medical marijuana can be prescribed for treating conditions including severe nausea and pain - both of which may affect pregnant women - but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women stay away from weed if they want to have a baby.

Californians voted to legalise recreational use of the drug in 2016. The study adds that prenatal use may increase even more in 2018, after recreational use of marijuana is set to become legal in California. It is now legal in 29 states and Washington, DC. However, on a federal level, it is still illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana.

California's initiative requires marijuana products to bear labels warning of potential health hazards, including that marijuana use while pregnant or breastfeeding could be harmful.

Kelly Young-Wolff, the study's lead researcher and Dr. Nancy Goler said their study shows how marijuana might potentially harm an unborn child.

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