Nov. 30, 2022 -- Pregnant women in states with legal cannabis should be screened for its use, according to scientists who say the women are 4.6 times more likely to report using the substance than women in states where use is still strictly controlled.

More women are using cannabis to alleviate pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. While cannabis use in pregnancy is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes, its use among pregnant women in the United States has increased significantly.

“Despite evidence suggesting that cannabis use during pregnancy is associated with adverse neonatal outcomes, its use among pregnant women in the United States has increased significantly,” they write in the journal.

Women should be screened for their own health and the health of their babies, say the authors of research in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

“The increased use with legalization motivates further research on the impacts of cannabis as a therapeutic agent during pregnancy and supports the need for increased screening and patient counseling regarding the potential effects of cannabis use on fetal development,” the authors say.

Public discussion is important now as cannabis use has become legal in more states, they say.

Legalization has increased significantly in recent years, yet legalization has been piecemeal. States variously allow the use of cannabidiol (CBD) products, the use of medically prescribed cannabis, the use of cannabis for recreational purposes, or some combination thereof. Use of these products has risen among all demographics, Science Daily reported.

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The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse: “Cannabis use among pregnant women under different legalization frameworks in the United States”

Science Daily: “Pregnant women's cannabis usage in legalized U.S. states raises calls for screening”

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