Cannabis Use Among Expectant Mothers Increasing

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The Journal of the American Medical Association, known as JAMA, published on December 26, a research letter on data analysis that indicates cannabis use is increasing among pregnant women, and particularly for young mothers.

Kelly C. Young-Wolff, PhD, Lue-Yen Tucker, BA, and Stacey Alexeeff, PhD, who are affiliated with Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, and the University of California, San Francisco, authored the letter.


Citing lack of data on the health affects of cannabis use on pregnant women, the researchers “investigated trends of prenatal marijuana use from 2009-2016 using data from a large California health care system with universal screening via self-report and urine toxicology.”

The study analyzed data from 280,000, gathered from 2009 to 2016.

Overall, there was an increase in cannabis use among study subjects, from four percent to seven percent, over the seven-year period. The largest increase in use was found in subjects younger than 18 years of age to 24-year olds.

The letter said, “use among females younger than 18 years to age 24 years of age increased the most, from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent for those younger than 18 years, and from 9.8 percent to 19 percent for those aged 18 to 24.”

Media reports noted that the time span of the study coincides with increased marijuana legalization in California, and the U.S., and may be indicative of a continuing trend, as recreational legalization in California is scheduled to take effect on January 1.

In an unrelated story, Alaska’s top health official earlier this month released guidelines for healthcare providers on cannabis use and nursing mothers.

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