It may not come as a surprise that more pregnant are smoking pot, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have laws that legalize marijuana in some form but, legal or not, people have always used marijuana to treat everything from stress to nausea. This new research suggests that expecting women are smoking to ease heightened anxiety, nausea, and morning sickness, which all accompany pregnancy.
The researchers asked a sample of expecting Californians to complete questionnaires about their marijuana use and take a cannabis toxicology test during their standard prenatal care visits from 2009 through 2016. They were screened for marijuana use at approximately eight weeks’ gestation, and the results show that the prevalence of marijuana use increased from 4.2 percent to 7.1 percent in that timeframe.
The data suggests that the upward trend is most common among pregnant teens younger than 18 — for them, usage climbed from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent. Among pregnant women 18 to 24, 9.8 percent smoked pot in 2009 and 19 percent smoked pot in 2016. While the increase in marijuana use for older age groups was still evident, it wasn’t as steep; it rose from 3.4 percent to 5.1 percent among women 25 to 34 years old and from 2.1 percent to 3.3 percent among women older than 34.
The research isn’t exactly holistic, as it only involved 279,457 mothers-to-be, 12 and older, who were in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California healthcare system, according to CNN. The study’s lead author, Kelly Young-Wolff, licensed clinical psychologist, also told Fox that the researchers were unable to distinguish prenatal use before versus after women realized they were pregnant. Marijuana is detectable in urine approximately 30 days after last use and varies with heaviness of use and marijuana potency, she wrote…