Despite Risks, More Pregnant Women Than Ever Are Smoking Marijuana To Ease Symptoms

Updated January 11, 2018

No one ever said that being pregnant is easy. To the contrary, it is a challenging thing to go through. A woman’s body endures all sorts of aches and pains and changes that are both physical and mental. And now young pregnant women are turning to a natural remedy to help ease their symptoms of morning sickness and anxiety. But doctors worry that it could cause developmental problems for the unborn baby. Nevertheless, more pregnant women than ever before are smoking marijuana because it helps them feel better during pregnancy.

A new study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that marijuana consumptions dramatically increased for women between the ages of 18 and 24, at least in the state of California where the researchers conducted the survey.

From 2009 to 2016, marijuana use among young pregnant women increased 4.2 percent to 7.1 percent.

And for pregnant teenagers who are younger than eighteen, marijuana use skyrocketed. In 2009 about 12.5 percent of teen moms used marijuana and in 2016 as much as 21.8 percent smoked the grass to feel better during their pregnancy.

For moms between the ages of 18 to 24, marijuana use rose from 9.8 percent to 19 percent. That means more than twice as many moms in that age group are smoking weed to ease their morning sickness and anxiety symptoms than before.

Medical marijuana was legalized in 1996 in California. That means these pregnant women grew up in a time when marijuana was used as medicine instead of an illegal drug.

CNN reports that pregnant teens and adolescents are more likely to abuse alcohol and smoke marijuana illegally.

“The paper is not surprising, and the findings of a rise in marijuana use during the pregnancy is consistent with recent attention to marijuana and legalization in various states,” said Dr. Haywood Brown of Duke University School of Medicine.

Because marijuana has been proven to offer health benefits, it is not surprising that more women are using it to ease their painful and difficult pregnancy symptoms. But at what cost? Doctors still worry that marijuana use could affect an unborn child’s development.

Pregnant moms are rolling the dice, according to some doctors.

“Then there’s the other group who take a more pragmatic view of pregnancy,” said Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, chief of OB-GYN at the University of Texas Southwestern’s hospital. “They know there are potential risks involved with many decisions they make involving medication exposure, alcohol use, and smoking, but they decide those risks are acceptable, especially if the risks are not well-defined or conclusive.”

To find out how many moms were using marijuana, the study authors surveyed 279,457 pregnant women who were at Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system. They used both self-reporting surveys and toxicology screenings to see who was and who was not using the drug.

While medical information on marijuana use is mixed – some sources say it is not harmful while others worry it could affect an unborn baby – pregnant women are using it more now than ever before.

Do you think it is safe for women to smoke medical marijuana to ease their pregnancy symptoms?