Study: More women use pot during pregnancy
CHICAGO — U.S. women are increasingly using marijuana during pregnancy, sometimes to treat morning sickness, new reports suggest. Though the actual numbers are small, the trend raises concerns because of evidence linking the drug with low birth weights and other problems.
In 2014, almost 4 percent of pregnant women said they’d recently used marijuana, up from 2.4 percent in 2002, according to an analysis of annual drug use surveys.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said the results raise concerns and urged doctors and other health care providers to avoid recommending the drug for pregnant women. Dr. Volkow commented in an editorial published online Monday with the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Strong evidence of harm is limited, but besides low birth weights, newborns whose mothers used marijuana while pregnant may face increased risks for anemia and other problems requiring intensive care. Memory and attention problems also have been found in older children whose moms used marijuana in pregnancy, Dr. Volkow noted.
How marijuana might lead to those problems is unclear but Dr. Volkow said one theory is that it might interfere with formation of nerve cells and circuits in the brain during fetal development.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discourages marijuana use by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.