The popularity of cannabis has risen dramatically in the past 10 years with 29 states now making it legal for medicinal purposes and 8 states legalizing the plant for recreational use. Its use has been employed to treat a large variety of ailments, from cancer, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy to sleep disorders, PTSD and autism. The plant is well known for its anti-nausea properties which are often used in the treatment for the side effects of chemotherapy. Now it appears as though pregnant women in California are also using the plant to treat one of the nastier symptoms of pregnancy, the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness which is known to occur in the first trimester but often continues beyond this point.
A Marked Increase in Marijuana Use Amongst Pregnant Women
A recent study published on Tuesday in the weekly Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that the number of women in California using cannabis to treat morning sickness has risen from 4 percent 2009 to 7 percent in 2016. The number is expected to be much higher in 2018 as the recreational use of cannabis becomes legal across the state. The study used data from almost 280,000 women testing over 30,000 each year. According to the test results, while the women are utilizing the benefits of the plant, they are still ashamed to admit it, as approximately half of the women who were tested for cannabis in the blood stream did not admit to using the plant on the survey they were given. This points to the number of women using the plant potentially being higher.
Why Pregnant Women May Be Using Cannabis More
Younger people seem the most comfortable with using the plant. It would seem that about 20 percent of pregnant teens use cannabis, indicating that there is less stigma about the use of the plant by the younger generation. The plant is already recommended for a variety of reproductive issues such as painful periods, anxiety, insomnia, cramps and inflammation. Some of these symptoms also occur during pregnancy, allowing for an easy jump to being useful during this period. While doctors don’t recommend using the plant during pregnancy, there is little data showing the effects of cannabis on pregnancy. The most substantial evidence seems to point to possible lower birth weights.
The Rise of Cannabis Use
The study states that “marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy, and its use is increasing. From 2002 to 2014, the prevalence of self-reported, past-month marijuana use among U.S. adult pregnant women increased from 2.4 percent to 3.9 percent. In aggregated 2002-2012 data, 14.6 percent of U.S. pregnant adolescents reported past-month use.”
Cannabis still remains illegal at a federal level although the World Health Organization is now stating that CBD (a compound in marijuana) products should not be illegal and the plant itself is going under review this May. It’s unclear as to whether the organization will effect federal law in the U.S., as the current Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a long time prohibitionist. At minimum, it would seem that more research is needed to uncover the plant’s long term effects. Until then, more and more women seem to be enjoying the relief provided by the plant.