More women in California are using marijuana during pregnancy, study finds

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According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association moms to be in California - especially those under the age of 24 - are increasingly using marijuana during pregnancy. "I have some significant concerns about it..." More troubling, per the study, is that younger women were more prone to smoking pot while pregnant, with pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 24 increasing their use from 9.8 percent to 19 percent, and pregnant women under the age of 18 increasing their use from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent. In January 2017, after JAMA published another study showing an uptick in marijuana use among pregnant women, Nora D. Volkow, who heads up the National Institute on Drug Abuse, authored a counterpoint outlining the risks of smoking pot while pregnant.

Given how many pregnant women seem to be using pot, there's clearly a lot of confusion about its safety.

One expert speculated the rise might be partially explained by the increased availability of legal marijuana in recent years. These complications are already more prevalent among teen mothers than in slightly older women, which is worrying for medical professionals, since research showed teenagers are also more likely to smoke pot while pregnant than their older peers. "Why use something that could potentially cause problems?" The Centers for Disease Controls says marijuana use during pregnancy can impact birth weight, affect developmental milestones, and lead to addictive behavior later in life.

There are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding, and in the absence of such data, marijuana use is discouraged. A 2013 study published in Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey researched the effects of marijuana use on lactation, under the guise that marijuana will soon become more widely available in the USA, and didn't find conclusive evidence to support treating marijuana and tobacco use the same way.

Dr. Feldman said she also deters her patients from using marijuana to improve nausea or ease anxiety. "Chemicals found in marijuana, like THC, can pass through the mother's system into the baby", said Harker.

One of the most perplexing foundings that researchers from the The Kaiser Permanente school of medicine is the stat showing how many women admitted to cannabis use, when compared to the number of those that tested positive. Since marijuana can remain in the body for up to 30 days, the women who gave urine samples when they were eight weeks pregnant could have stopped using the drug when they realized they were expecting.

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