Mass General Hospital

Harvard Medical School

In Brief: High Rates of Marijuana Use in Pregnant Teens

According to data from the 2002-2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the prevalence of marijuana use was 3.8% in pregnant women (n=14,400), compared to 7.5% in nonpregnant women (n=395,600).   The investigators observed that marijuana use was higher in the first trimester (6.4%) than in the second (3.3%) or third (1.8%) trimesters.  Marijuana use was higher in pregnant black women (6.5%) than in white (3.8%) or Hispanic women(2.9%) or women of other races/ethnicities (1.4%).

The highest rates of marijuana use occurred in mothers under the age of 25, and among teens between the ages of 12 and 17, rates of marijuana use were actually higher in pregnant than nonpregnant women (14% versus 6.5%).

Given that many states have or are now moving forward with the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, it should be no surprise that we are seeing an increasing number of women in our clinic who are using marijuana on a regular basis.  While marijuana is often considered to be a relatively benign or safe substance, our information regarding the reproductive safety of marijuana is limited. However, we have a body of literature suggesting that marijuana may carry significant risk for the pregnancy and the developing fetus. (See this review on The Effects of Marijuana on Embryo Development for more detailed information.)

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

 

Volkow ND, Han B, Compton WM, Blanco C. Ann. Marijuana Use During Stages of Pregnancy in the United States. Intern Med. 2017 Apr 18.

 

Reviewed In:

Teens’ marijuana use higher during pregnancy (Pediatric News)

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