Don't Mix Pot and Pregnancy

Summary and Comment |
January 9, 2017

Don't Mix Pot and Pregnancy

  1. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS

Marijuana use during pregnancy is on the rise, raising concerns about fetal safety.

  1. Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS

During the past decade, U.S. attitudes toward marijuana have liberalized; indeed, its use is now legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C. Given concerns about marijuana's effects on fetal development, researchers assessed the prevalence of self-reported marijuana use among a nationally-representative sample of 200,510 women (age range, 18–44; 10,587 pregnant) who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Between 2002 and 2014, prevalence of marijuana use during the past month rose from 6.3% to 9.3% among nonpregnant women and from 2.4% to 3.8% among pregnant women. In 2014, marijuana use during the past year was reported by 15.9% of nonpregnant women and 11.6% of pregnant women.

Comment

These data highlight the importance of routinely discussing marijuana use when providing preconception and prenatal care. In particular, it's important for young women to understand that, although cannabinoids have been used to treat nausea — and nausea is common in early pregnancy — marijuana may adversely affect fetal brain development (BMJ Open 2016; 6:e009986); moreover, safer treatments for morning sickness are available (e.g., ondansetron; see NEJM JW Womens Health Jun 2016 and Obstet Gynecol 2016; 127:878). Women should also be notified that, in some communities, marijuana use during pregnancy warrants involvement of Child Protective Services.

Editor Disclosures at Time of Publication

  • Disclosures for Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, MD, MS at time of publication Grant / Research support Office of Adolescent Health Editorial boards Contraception; Journal of General Internal Medicine

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