Using Cannabis During Pregnancy Is Becoming More Common, A New Study Says

Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images

With the laws on cannabis consumption relaxing, more and more people are using for both medicinal and recreational reasons. And pregnant people are no exception. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that more people are using cannabis products during pregnancy than ever before. In an analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers found that daily use of cannabis among pregnant people more than doubled during a 15-year period. People are especially using cannabis during the first trimester, too, CNN reported. What's more, less than 1% of cannabis users reported being advised to use it by their doctor.

While the impact of cannabis on fetal development hasn't been thoroughly researched, an investigation of women in Canada, also published in JAMA Network, explored the association between prenatal cannabis use and maternal, perinatal, and neonatal outcomes. In a study of 66,1 617 pregnant women, 9,427 of whom were self-reported cannabis users, people who used cannabis during pregnancy were twice as likely to give birth early. This new study looked at people who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which included 4,400 pregnant people and 133,900 people who weren't pregnant between the ages of 12 and 44.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said on its website that using cannabis during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight and developmental problems. In addition, smoking pot can be more harmful than other forms of cannabis ingestion. "Breathing marijuana smoke can also be bad for a mother and her baby. Marijuana smoke has many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke and may increase the chances for developmental problems in a baby," the CDC wrote.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images

That doesn't mean edible cannabis products are safe for pregnant people either. "Marijuana use during pregnancy may negatively impact your baby after birth (research shows marijuana use during pregnancy may make it hard for your child to pay attention, learn, or do well in school and these issues may only become noticeable as your child grows older)," the CDC noted.

A clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics about the safety of cannabis during pregnancy and while breastfeeding said that total abstinence from cannabis is recommended. "Legalization of marijuana may give the false impression that marijuana is safe. Given ethical concerns, there are no randomized controlled trials on the effect of marijuana use by pregnant and lactating women," the report explained.

In addition, because cannabis is not legal at the federal level, pregnant people who have it in their systems could end up being investigated by child welfare agencies, according to the AAP.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In addition, the report said people who are breastfeeding should also abstain from cannabis because THC and other psychoactive compounds can make their way into breast milk. And if a person is using it to help with pregnancy-related nausea, Dr. Torri Metz, a high-risk obstetrician at University of Utah Health, told Live Science that there's no scientific research that cannabis actually eases or prevents morning sickness.

Overall, more research is necessary to determine the safety of both cannabis and CBD oil in pregnant people. If you have questions about what's safe to use during pregnancy, always ask your doctor. And when it comes to your health, especially during pregnancy, it's best to follow the motto: when in doubt, don't.

Readers should note that the regulations and data surrounding marijuana, CBD, and other related products are still developing. As such, the information contained in this post should not be construed as medical or legal advice. Always consult with your doctor before trying any substance or supplement.