The topic of marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding has been a subject of much debate and research. As more states legalize marijuana, the number of pregnant women who smoke it is rising. In 2002, 2.3% of pregnant women used marijuana, which increased to 3.84% in 2014, marking a significant rise. This increase is concerning, especially considering that the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana has quadrupled over the years.
Studies like the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study, the U.S.-based Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Study, and the Generation R study have been monitoring the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy. However, despite these studies, there is still a lack of comprehensive data compared to other substances like alcohol. This gap in information is highlighted by Kim, who notes that while cannabis has been legalized, there is still much to understand about its impact on different populations, particularly pregnant women.
In California and across the United States, cannabis use during pregnancy is on the rise. This trend mirrors the overall increased use in the population as more states legalize pot for recreational purposes. An estimated 8% of women – about 1 in 12 – used cannabis during pregnancy in 2020, up from 3% in 2002. This increase comes despite mounting concerns about the potential risks associated with cannabis use during pregnancy.
A study co-led by researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University in November 2021 emphasizes the potential for abuse or dependence on cannabis during pregnancy. This situation is compounded by the general advice from medical experts who discourage marijuana use during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for example, advises against using marijuana during pregnancy and cautions breastfeeding mothers to avoid it due to the possibility of THC passing into the baby.
There are several health concerns associated with marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Smoking anything, including marijuana, can deprive the fetus of oxygen, leading to issues like low birth weight and damage to developing lungs and brain. Secondhand smoke from marijuana also poses risks and is included under regulations like the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.
Given these concerns, experts recommend avoiding marijuana in any form during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The lack of concrete evidence and the potential risks involved make it a matter of caution and care for the health of both the mother and the child.
For more detailed information and studies on this topic, you can refer to resources from Harvard Health, Harvard Science in the News, University of Denver, USC Health Policy, Cornell University, and Columbia University among others.