Cannabis use more than doubled among pregnant women in the United States during the period 2002-2017, according to data collected from 467,100 women aged 12-44 who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). After adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, and family income, past-month cannabis use, daily/near cannabis use, and number of days of cannabis use all increased among pregnant women. Cannabis use was more common during the first trimester than during the second and third. In addition, cannabis use for medical purposes was relatively rare, but just as frequent among pregnant as non-pregnant women.
Between 2002-2003 and 2016-2017, past-month cannabis use increased from 3.4% to 7.0% among pregnant women overall and from 5.7% to 12.1% during the first trimester. Daily/near daily cannabis use in the past month increased from 0.9% to 3.4% among pregnant women overall, and from 1.8% to 5.3% during the first trimester; from 0.6% to 2.5% during the second trimester; and from 0.5% to 2.5% during the third trimester.Cannabis use during pregnancy has been associated with effects on fetal growth, including low birth weight and length, and these outcomes may be more likely among women who consume marijuana frequently during pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters. This study emphasizes the need to screen and intervene for cannabis use among all pregnant women and underscores the need for additional research to assess fetal outcomes related to prenatal cannabis exposure.
Scientists from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) led the research team.
For a copy of the Research Letter, titled "Self-reported medical and nonmedical cannabis use among pregnant women in the United States," and published in JAMA, go to https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2736582. The Research Letter is co-authored by NIDA Director and Deputy Director, Drs. Nora Volkow and Wilson Compton, and SAMHSA’s leader, the Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz and SAMHSA Researcher Dr. Beth Han.
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