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Cannabis use by pregnant women in US states where it has been legalized is sparking calls for scrutiny

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Pregnant women living in US states where cannabis is legal should be screened for the drug, for the health of both the mother and the baby. This is the claim of scientists who found in a new national study that these individuals are more likely to use this substance.

Posted in American Journal of Drug and Alcohol AbuseThe research shows that pregnant women were about 4.6 times more likely to report using cannabis where it is legal for medical and recreational purposes, compared to where only CBD is allowed.

A significant proportion of women report using the drug for medicinal purposes, which is in line with a “growing body of evidence” that indicates that in order to alleviate pregnancy symptoms, cannabis is used as an alternative to prescription drugs in legal areas.

Lead author Katak Vashani, who was a student in the Keenan Research Summer Student Program at St. Michael’s Hospital, tells Unity Health Toronto, when the research was conducted.

The team calls on prenatal and primary care providers to screen and counsel patients regarding cannabis use during pregnancy, particularly in states where it is legal, for potential effects on fetal development.

They also state that public messaging “about the dangers of ‘cannabis during pregnancy’ is especially important now,” as many states have recently implemented cannabis laws and created cannabis markets.

The legalization of cannabis products has increased dramatically in the past decade in the United States. Legalization has been piecemeal—with states varyingly allowing the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products, the use of prescription cannabis, the use of recreational cannabis, or a combination thereof. The use of these products rose among all population groups.

It is among pregnant women the least studied, but cannabis is known to be used to treat some symptoms associated with pregnancy — particularly nausea and vomiting.

Here, the team used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) between 2017 and 2020 to analyze cannabis consumption by 1,992 pregnant women.

While previous studies have examined cannabis use by pregnant women in restricted geographic areas and under certain legislative standards, this study included a broader data set to compare use across legalization frameworks in 27 states.

The authors found that self-reported use was “significantly higher” in Residents of states that allow medical use and adult use, compared to residents of states with restricted use.

“The unweighted data set consisted of 426 CBD only, 1,114 medical, and 394 recreational groups,” they claim. Weights were applied to each data point to obtain the population they represent. Of this weighted data, only 2.4% of CBD areas reported cannabis use, while 7.1% of medical and 6.9% of adult use areas reported the same. Respondents from the medical and recreational fields were 4.5 and 4.7 times more likely to use cannabis than those in CBD-only areas.

Most of the respondents who reported using cannabis smoked it partially or mostly for recreational purposes. The authors note that “the mode of ingestion and the reason for consumption did not differ between the country groups.”

But what is the effect of this on the mother or the fetus?

Previous studies have shown this Use during pregnancy can be effective for nausea and vomiting. Medical cannabis may be suitable for treating conditions specific to pregnancy, which – if left untreated – could be more harmful to the fetus than cannabis.

However, safe use depends on having a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and risks of cannabis when weighed against the risks of untreated or refractory conditions such as hyperemesis gravidarum.

Therefore, more research is needed, says Vachhani, also of the University of Toronto Temerty School of Medicine.

“Cannabis is a complex substance and its use is further complicated by factors such as form of intake and frequency of use,” Vashani explains. “From a maternal health standpoint, our current understanding is rudimentary regarding the complex interaction between use (whether it be CBD or THC) and long-term health outcomes for the mother. There is currently no accepted therapeutic indication or safe amount of cannabis to consume during pregnancy. Although That additional studies may lead to an acceptable therapeutic indication, based on the current consensus, the positive association between cannabis use and legalization found in our study warrants further inquiry.”

The analysis performed here was limited by a relatively small sample size, and a lack of information regarding the timing of use in . Lack of information about the chemical composition of Consumers, and the possibility of self-reporting of biases.

more information:
cannabis use among pregnant women under different legalization frameworks in the United States, American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (2022). DOI: 10.1080 / 00952990.2022.2136035

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