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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday December 28 2017, @11:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the is-it-4:20-already? dept.

Pregnant women are increasingly using cannabis, according to two studies published this year:

More pregnant women seem to be using pot -- sometimes to ease the nausea of morning sickness or heightened anxiety -- and a new study suggests that this slight rise in marijuana use is most pronounced among those younger in age. The prevalence of marijuana use among a sample of moms-to-be in California climbed from 4.2% to 7.1% from 2009 through 2016, according to a research letter published in the journal JAMA on Tuesday [DOI: 10.1001/jama.2017.17225] [DX]. Among pregnant teens younger than 18, marijuana use climbed from 12.5% to 21.8%, and among women 18 to 24, marijuana use climbed from 9.8% to 19%, the researchers found.

That research involved only certain women in California, but a separate study of pregnant women across the United States, published in JAMA [open, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.17383] [DX] in January, found that those who reported using marijuana in the previous month grew from 2.37% in 2002 to 3.85% in 2014. The women were 18 to 44.

Doctors caution that the health effects of marijuana on a fetus remain unclear but could include low birth weight and developmental problems [DOI: 10.1097/CHI.0b013e318160b3f0] [DX], according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the chemicals in marijuana, like tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, could pass through a mother's system to her baby. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that "women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use" and "to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy." Additionally, "there are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding, and in the absence of such data, marijuana use is discouraged," according to the recommendations.

Also at LA Times.

Related: Tennessee to Jail Women Who Use Drugs while Pregnant


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  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday December 29 2017, @12:55AM (17 children)

    by looorg (578) on Friday December 29 2017, @12:55AM (#615330)

    "Doctors caution that the health effects of marijuana on a fetus remain unclear but could include ..." ... "there are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding, and in the absence of such data, marijuana use is discouraged," according to the recommendations."

    Is that perhaps then not something they should test instead of guess about? Sure it would involve human experiments and the repercussions might be dire. You don't want the fetus to come out as a retarded stoner children. But how else are they going to find out if there is a different if the child is inside or being breastfed on the outside. That said I do seriously doubt they are going to get any such data anytime soon. But it could be interesting; "Hi want to take part in an experiment where you get to smoke weed, under controlled circumstances, for 9 months while you are pregnant?".

    Come to think of it are there any studies of stoner sperm? There probably is. That is after all a lot easier to test then if smoking weed has an effect on a fetus or if you breast feed your infant weed fueled breast milk.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Friday December 29 2017, @01:01AM (11 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday December 29 2017, @01:01AM (#615334) Journal

    You could look at reports in which a pregnant woman tested positive / were caught using cannabis, and then track the development of the children. Or ask pregnant women to self-report whether they are currently using cannabis or had done so during pregnancy, and track the development of the children.

    It's not great (when is biomedical science ever?), but possibly better than just forcing some pregnant mice to toke up.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 29 2017, @01:12AM (9 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 29 2017, @01:12AM (#615340)

      Yeah that does not seem like a study where you want to 'go first'.

      Seems like a study you want to err on the side of caution. As is being pregnant has a very strict set of things you can and can not eat.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday December 29 2017, @01:17AM (8 children)

        by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday December 29 2017, @01:17AM (#615345) Journal

        I guess some other approaches would be to do more statewide studies like these, and then track birth defects, etc. across the state. Or look for any trends specifically in states that have legalized recreational or medical cannabis and compare those states to ones that haven't.

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        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Whoever on Friday December 29 2017, @02:45AM (7 children)

          by Whoever (4524) on Friday December 29 2017, @02:45AM (#615373) Journal

          You are assuming the the use of weed is significantly higher in states that have legalized it. That may not be true.

          • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday December 29 2017, @06:55AM (6 children)

            by Sulla (5173) on Friday December 29 2017, @06:55AM (#615475) Journal

            Before legalization I didn't smell pot everywhere. In my 15 min drive to work I pass three different houses growing enough that I can smell it from a distance, I presume the grow is not just for fun. At least twice a week I encounter a person smoking pot as I walk from my parking structure to work, this was not common before legalization

            I dont know that more people are smoking, but I know that people are smoking more.

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            • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday December 29 2017, @04:18PM (3 children)

              by urza9814 (3954) on Friday December 29 2017, @04:18PM (#615546) Journal

              I dont know that more people are smoking, but I know that people are smoking more.

              Not necessarily...

              So you have a few houses you expect are growing...that doesn't prove usage increased unless you also have some measure of how much is being imported/exported. These people might just be displacing stuff previously brought up from Mexico/South America or just from other states. Now that it's legal there wouldn't be much point in trafficking the stuff in. And there's probably a good profit to be made in trafficking the stuff out. Perhaps your state has just moved from a net importer to a net exporter!

              And of course you see more people smoking it in public now that they aren't literally risking their lives in doing so. People have been publicly executed in this country for lesser "crimes". It ain't legal (yet!) in my state, but walk into literally any apartment building and you'll smell it. Plenty of users, but you'll still never see them in public, because that would just be fuckin stupid.

              • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday December 29 2017, @05:55PM (2 children)

                by Sulla (5173) on Friday December 29 2017, @05:55PM (#615578) Journal

                If every day you can smell pot from 1k feet away from the nearest residential area from the inside of a car, there is something weird going on in that neighborhood

                I voted for legalization, I just didn't expect to smell it non-stop everywhere I go. If a neighbor starts growing or whatever and I have to smell it every day i'm going to sue them using those same pig farm smell laws or airport noise laws over loss of property value.

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                • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday December 29 2017, @06:37PM

                  by urza9814 (3954) on Friday December 29 2017, @06:37PM (#615597) Journal

                  If every day you can smell pot from 1k feet away from the nearest residential area from the inside of a car, there is something weird going on in that neighborhood

                  I don't disagree with that...I'm just saying it doesn't necessarily mean people in the area are using more. It's entirely possible that the only difference is that they're now growing it locally, and that's what you're smelling.

                  I voted for legalization, I just didn't expect to smell it non-stop everywhere I go. If a neighbor starts growing or whatever and I have to smell it every day i'm going to sue them using those same pig farm smell laws or airport noise laws over loss of property value.

                  Sounds reasonable. I'm assuming the area is not zoned for agriculture...? :)

                  In a few years I'd expect that to sort itself out though...partly the regulations suck because nobody knows what needs to be regulated yet; and partly it's just a problem of needing to build up the infrastructure for the new market. Eventually these guys should be selling more than they can grow in their house, and they'll find some industrial or agricultural land to buy up and do it there instead. But nobody has the money for that yet, and banks won't do business with them so it's not like they can take out a loan. Although it's also tough to regulate because of the continued unlawful federal prohibition...it's probably a lot easier to raid the warehouse of Mike's Bud Farm LLC compared to the basement of Mike's house, so the problems might not resolve themselves until that goes away...

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 30 2017, @02:41AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 30 2017, @02:41AM (#615712)

                  I'm betting there is some inside the car. It's like someone who doesn't know he stepped in a turd - "everywhere I go today smells like dogshit!!"

            • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Friday December 29 2017, @05:01PM

              by Whoever (4524) on Friday December 29 2017, @05:01PM (#615564) Journal

              Your anecdotes may merely show that the pot growing and consumption is now in the open, rather than hidden.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 29 2017, @07:41PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 29 2017, @07:41PM (#615623)

              You know that you encounter more people smokling, not people are smoking more. For all you know, the dude smoking a j walking down the street used to do it in his car to keep it on the low. And someone growing weed openly now might have used some random backwoods spot or the like.

              I think it's reasonable to assume usage goes up, but nothing you offered makes your argument, even anecdotally.

    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Friday December 29 2017, @01:19AM

      by looorg (578) on Friday December 29 2017, @01:19AM (#615346)

      That could be an option. Problem might be that they did more then just smoke weed. It would be hard to link it just to the potential weed usage. Self reporting might be an issue to since you'll probably want to know about dosage and strength etc plus if child welfare found out there could be issues.

      Indeed. But the to have some poor mice toke up is probably as close as you get without actual human experiments..

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 29 2017, @02:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 29 2017, @02:11AM (#615359)

    It's called a "natural experiment", all that is necessary is to gather data (as much as possible, not just on pot usage) --

    A natural experiment is an empirical study in which individuals (or clusters of individuals) exposed to the experimental and control conditions are determined by nature or by other factors outside the control of the investigators, but the process governing the exposures arguably resembles random assignment.

    from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_experiment [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by frojack on Friday December 29 2017, @02:17AM (3 children)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 29 2017, @02:17AM (#615361) Journal

    The quote is the usual scare tactic employed when they don't know didly squat.
    It could just as well read:

    effects of marijuana on a fetus remain unclear but could include calmer babies, fewer tantrums, better infant appetite, etc,
      etc,

    There is a large cadre of kids of stoners and hippies from the 60s through the 80s. I've known some of them, and most are normal, certainly on average no different from any other random group. Wouldn't we know by now?

    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome became a Thing virtually over night.

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    • (Score: 5, Informative) by dry on Friday December 29 2017, @03:49AM (2 children)

      by dry (223) on Friday December 29 2017, @03:49AM (#615405) Journal

      There were studies done in the '70's, in Jamaica where people use a lot of marijuana. The findings were that babies exposed to larger amounts of pot as fetuses were born slightly larger. They weren't sure if it was the pot or the subjects selling pot and having a higher standard of living.
      There were quite a few various studies done back in the '70's on marijuana usage, but much of it was repressed as the findings didn't agree with what the politicians wanted to find.

      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday December 29 2017, @04:28AM (1 child)

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 29 2017, @04:28AM (#615426) Journal

        It's because the babies were born with an unholy case of the munchies and nursed more. And that applied to the third trimester too, meaning the placenta became more efficient at drawing nutrients.

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        • (Score: 5, Informative) by dry on Friday December 29 2017, @04:58AM

          by dry (223) on Friday December 29 2017, @04:58AM (#615446) Journal

          Yea, that was my thought as I typed the above.
          Unluckily it is hard to find studies from the '70's and I might be mis-remembering dates.
          Here's one from the '94, http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/medical/can-babies.htm [druglibrary.org] which shows no differences at 3 days and at 1 month, to quote,

          At 1 month, the exposed neonates showed better physiological stability and required less examiner facilitation to reach organized states. The neonates of heavy-marijuana-using mothers had better scores on autonomic stability, quality of alertness, irritability, and self-regulation and were judged to be more rewarding for caregivers.

          With the conclusion that it was mostly,

          traceable to the cultural positioning and social and economic characteristics of mothers using marijuana that select for the use of marijuana but also promote neonatal development.

          An article about a study from the '80's, https://herb.co/2016/03/02/jamaican-study-gives-surprising-insight-into-cannabis-pregnancy/ [herb.co] which seemed to conclude that mellow mothers raised better children whether using pot or not.