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Pot use among pregnant women of all ages continues rise

Pot use among pregnant women of all ages continues rise

Researchers observed a sample of pregnant women in California and saw a 3-percent increase in use form 2009 through 2016.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy, and its use is increasing.

The report found that among underage teens (those younger than 18), marijuana consumption increased from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent, and among women 18 to 24, marijuana use jumped from 9.8 percent to 19 percent.

A previous study published in JAMA nearly a year ago showed that the trend isn't limited to the Golden State: Across the country, pregnant women, aged 18 to 44, who reported using cannabis in the previous month had grown from 2.37 percent in 2002 to 3.85 percent in 2014.

The research published Tuesday involved only certain women in California, according to CNN.

Though little clear evidence exists on the effects of marijuana on developing human fetuses, animal studies have revealed that it may disrupt brain development.

Some soon-to-be-moms are turning to marijuana to quell the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy such as morning sickness.

In many states, medical marijuana can be prescribed for treating conditions including severe nausea and pain - both of which may affect pregnant women - but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women stay away from weed if they want to have a baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists discourage the use of marijuana during pregnancy due to its connections to other developmental issues. Timing may be important, too; marijuana use in the first month of a pregnancy may increase the likelihood of a very rare birth defect called anencephaly.

Overall, there was an increase in cannabis use among study subjects, from four percent to seven percent, over the seven-year period.

Barbara Yankey, a researcher at Georgia State University, told Reuters marijuana use may be on the rise because of the recent legalization of its recreational use "has made people think of the drug as less risky, even during pregnancy". But even so, more mothers are willing to run the risk, it seems.

In spite of its wide use, the new research suggests that pregnant women are still aware of some stigma against them for partaking in a toke or an edible.

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