More pregnant women seem to be using pot–sometimes to ease the nausea of morning sickness or heightened anxiety–and a new study suggests that this rise in marijuana use is most pronounced among those younger in age.
Among pregnant teens younger than 18, marijuana use climbed from 12.5% to 21.8%, and among women 18 to 24, marijuana use climbed from 9.8% to 19%, the researchers found.
That research involved only certain women in California, but a separate study of pregnant women across the United States, published in JAMAalso found increases in use of marijuana.
Doctors caution that the health effects of marijuana on a fetus remain unclear but could include low birth weight and developmental problems, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the chemicals in marijuana, like tetrahydro-cannabinol, known as THC, could pass through a mother’s system to her baby.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that “women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use” and “to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy.”
Additionally, “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,” according to the recommendations.