Marijuana use and pregnancy: a growing trend

Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 5:02 PM PST
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Most pregnant women would never knowingly harm their unborn child.

They take great pains to protect their baby before it's born.

But studies are sounding the alarm about marijuana use and pregnancy.

A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association shows 70% of women believe there is minimal to no harm from using marijuana during pregnancy.

One recent study shows about 16% of pregnant women smoke marijuana on a daily basis.

“I think that using marijuana has more social acceptability now because of the legalization,” says Dr. Catherine McCarthy, a professor with the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine Family Practice Program.

Colorado was one of the first states to legalize pot.

It seems only logical initial medical research on the drug would be come from there.


In May of 2018 Colorado research showed 69% of dispensaries in that state recommended, women smoke marijuana to help relieve morning sickness.

“And we don't have any data that using marijuana to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is safe,” says Dr. McCarthy. “And we do have some suggestion that there might be fetal harm from using marijuana in pregnancy,” she says.

Another marijuana and pregnancy study was recently released by the UNLV School of Medicine.

Researchers looked at the sonogram data of nearly 450 women who self-reported daily marijuana use.

The study shows these babies had low birth weight, hypoglycemia, and low Apgar scores.

In the worst case scenario the babies showed delayed growth.

“So when we have concerns about children with neuro developmental delays we think about school readiness or attention deficits or learning disabilities,” says Dr. McCarthy. “We can't prove that, but we have concerns. We recommend that pregnant women don't use marijuana,” she says.

And if you are planning on becoming pregnant, Dr. McCarthy says use of marijuana during that time should stop as well.

We don’t know what the long term impacts are on children whose mother’s smokes marijuana during pregnancy.

Nor do we know if those problems at birth can be out grown.

But more studies will certainly emerge as these children get older

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