Pregnant cannabis users report perceived impact of cannabis legalization

December 28, 2022

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Young-Wolff reports that he receives grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse outside of research. Other authors do not report relevant financial disclosures.

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Pregnant women who self-reported using cannabis perceived the benefits of cannabis legalization but also reported concerns about the impact of child protective services involvement. JAMA network open.

As of February 3, medical marijuana use is legal in 37 states and Washington, D.C., and as of November 9, recreational marijuana use is legal in 21 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Congress of States. is.

Data obtained from Young-Wolff KC et al. JAMA net open2022; doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.46912.

“Existing research does not provide conclusive evidence as to whether state adult-use cannabis legalization is associated with changes in prenatal cannabis use.” Dr. Kelly C. Young-Wolfe, M.P.H., A licensed clinical psychologist and research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Research Division in Oakland, writes colleagues. “However, some cannabis retailer staff (sometimes called batenders) promote cannabis as safe and effective in managing pregnancy symptoms, and cannabis around private homes during pregnancy. The higher the density of retailers, the higher the likelihood of prenatal cannabis use.”

Young-Wolff et al. enrolled 53 pregnant women who self-reported cannabis use when they started prenatal care and enrolled them in one of 18 90-minute focus groups. There were 23 non-Hispanic black participants in eight groups and her 30 non-Hispanic white participants in 10 groups.

Focus group meetings were conducted from November 17th to December 17th, 2021 using the Microsoft Teams video conferencing platform. At each semi-structured meeting, participants will discuss the reasons for prenatal cannabis use, the benefits and disadvantages of prenatal cannabis use, changes in use during pregnancy, methods of administration, and communication with clinicians about use. We talked about We compared meeting minutes to identify themes and sub-themes.

Daily prenatal cannabis use was reported by 37 (70%) participants, weekly use was reported by 13 (25%) participants, and monthly or less use was reported by 3 (6) participants. %) participants. However, 37 (70%) participants reported quitting cannabis after participating in the study.

There were three themes identified by participants: increased access and exposure to cannabis, and increased acceptance and trust in cannabis retailers. These did not differ by race.

access, exposure

Participants expressed that people they knew were using cannabis during pregnancy more and more in recent years due to legalization. said delivery options for cannabis products contributed to increased use during pregnancy. said.

Additionally, there were mixed feelings about cannabis advertising. Participants who quit or cut back during pregnancy reported that seeing the ads made them feel like they were losing out, whereas those who continued to use reported ads were almost entirely addicted to cannabis use. It didn’t affect me.


Participants generally reported reduced stigma against general and prenatal cannabis use after legalization, which may have led to increased prenatal use. However, some participants said prenatal use may not have increased, suggesting instead that pregnant people could talk more openly about cannabis use.

According to many participants, legalization has also boosted the confidence of pregnant patients and increased their willingness to discuss cannabis with their health care providers. They also said their providers seem more understanding of post-legalization cannabis use.

“One participant reported that she wanted to be open and honest about her cannabis use with her obstetrician because cannabis is legal. As a result, she eventually stopped using it during pregnancy. ,” write Young-Wolff and colleagues.

However, participants reported varying concerns about Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement. While some participants reported that their concerns about CPS involvement decreased after legalization, others still had strong concerns about potential involvement.

Trust in retailers

Many participants reported increased trust in cannabis products due to retailer penetration. Specifically, they say knowing how cannabis is produced and putting warnings about health risks on product labels have made it safer to use.

Participants also appreciated the knowledge, care and non-judgment provided by retail staff. Many reported feeling “connected with the battender” and believed it would help them choose products to alleviate their symptoms of pregnancy.

Finally, participants noted that the diversity of products available through retailers could make prenatal cannabis use more accessible to people who do not necessarily want to smoke, leading to an increase in prenatal use. Reported.

“These findings suggest that pregnant women who use cannabis contribute to the rise in prenatal cannabis use by legalizing cannabis for adult use, creating new challenges and opportunities for supporting individual health during pregnancy.” suggests that they are aware of what they have produced,” write Young-Wolff and colleagues.


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