Pregnant women are smoking marijuana more than ever before, a study suggests.
In a recent analysis from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which consisted of 200,000 women between the ages of 18 and 44, researchers found a 62 percent increase over the past 12 years in the rate for which women admitted to smoking marijuana during pregnancy.
The study, which was published in the journal of the American Medical Association, suggests the fashionably relaxed attitude regarding the safety of marijuana may be to prompting more pregnant women to throw caution to the wind when it comes to smoking cannabis.
It is important to point out, however, that while this increase is certainly significant, there are not that many women in the U.S. opting to smoke weed after learning of a bun in the oven.
In fact, the study shows that in 2014, only around four percent of the nation’s soon-to-be-mothers smoked marijuana – up, of course, from the 2.5 percent that responded to the survey in 2002.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were around 4 million women who gave birth in 2014.
Although four percent “is not high,” according to researchers, “the increases over time and potential adverse consequences of prenatal marijuana exposure suggest further monitoring and research are warranted.”
The study authors suggest that perhaps women should stop and consider the grey areas surrounding the effects of cannabis before choosing to use the herb during pregnancy.
“Although the evidence for the effects of marijuana on human prenatal development is limited at this point, research does suggest that there is cause for concern,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Federal health officials have acknowledged that more science is needed in order to determine whether marijuana actually has a negative impact on a baby’s development and overall future health.
Previous studies from NIDA indicate that a wealth of serious issues could arise in children as a result of a mother’s prenatal pot consumption, but the majority of this research fails to touch on other crucial details, such as a mother’s diet and her use of other substances.
The primary takeaway here is that all expecting mothers should do everything in their power, from maintaining a healthy diet to restricting the use of intoxicating substances, to ensure their child is healthy when he or she enters the world.