According to a recent study, pregnant women suffering from mild to severe morning sickness were much more likely to have used cannabis than women who do not suffer from these symptoms.
The study, which was conducted in California, found that an increasing number of pregnant women are using cannabis, but the ones who have hyperemesis gravidarum or severe case of vomiting and nausea in their first trimester of pregnancy were almost four times more likely to consume the drug during this time compared to those who do not have morning sickness at all.
The study looked into more than 220,000 pregnancies from the year 2009 to 2016. It found that the overall use of cannabis is at 5.3% during the first trimester. This number went up to 11.3% for those with severe vomiting and nausea. Meanwhile, a little over 8% of those with mild vomiting and nausea used cannabis while pregnant.
Through questionnaires, the women said that they used pot and were made to take a urine exam when at 8 weeks pregnant.
According to lead author Kelly Young-Wolff, PhD, who is a research scientist with Kaiser Premanente’s Division of Research in Northern California, their findings prove that there is a small yet growing body of research that suggests that some expectant mothers may resort to cannabis to self-medicate their morning sickness.
Cannabis not recommended during pregnancy
Experts have already warned against using marijuana during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for one, discourages women from consuming cannabis if they are planning or trying to conceive, are already expecting, or are breastfeeding.
The ACOG said in a statement responding to the study that “worrisome trends” found in research shows that cannabis may disrupt normal brain development in a fetus. This could result to behavioral problems and shorter attention spans in children.
There’s also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said that dangerous chemicals could be transmitted while smoking cannabis or while consuming edible cannabis like candies, brownies, and other food items.
The ACOG also warned about other issues that could result from the drug’s increasing potency.
The ACOG has pointed out that previous studies have already shown that kids exposed to cannabis while still in their mother’s wombs had lower scores on tests involving visual program solving, visual analysis, and hand-eye coordination compared to kids who were not exposed to the drug in utero.
The organization reminds that prenatal cannabis exposure is tied to behavioral problems and attention deficit among children. What’s more, these kids are more likely to use pot when they become teenagers.
According to Young-Wolff, there is rising perception that cannabis is harmless with more and more states legalizing the drug. Just because cannabis is legal does not mean it is safe, especially for pregnant women, she said.