New Study Links Use of Cannabis to Poor Birth Outcomes

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Dec. 12, 2023 -- A new study links  cannabis use during pregnancy  to a greater risk of poor outcomes, particularly low birth weight.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the study, expectant mothers who used cannabis had 25.9% unfavorable birth outcomes, compared to 17.4% among those who did not, the research said.

More than 9,000 people who were pregnant between 2010 and 2013 participated in the research. Urine samples were used to determine whether pregnant women had used the substance, when, and how much.

The negative outcome most strongly associated with cannabis use was low birth weight, less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Others included premature births, stillbirths, and hypertensive pregnancy disorders, which can be life-threatening for the pregnant mother and the baby.

“Looking at any adverse outcome, we saw that people who had stopped use within the first trimester didn’t actually have a statistically significant increased risk [vs.] those who had continued use,” Torri D. Metz, MD, of the University of Utah Health, who was the study’s lead author, told The Washington Post.

According to the Post, there is growing evidence that no amount of cannabis use is safe during pregnancy.

Some people use it while pregnant to help with nausea and pain, and its use has surged in recent years as more states have legalized it.