Cannabis Use on the Rise in Pregnant Women During Pandemic


A study released in JAMA reveals a 25% increase in cannabis use in pregnant women during the pandemic in the United States.

Study findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that there has been a 25% increase of cannabis use in early pregnancy since March of 2020. The study was conducted by Kaiser Permanente and evaluated 100,000 pregnancies in Northern California from 2019 to 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, the study reveals that approximately 6.75% of pregnant women were cannabis users and this has risen to over 8.14% during the pandemic. Kelly Young-Wolff, PhD, MPH describes this increase possibly linked to increased trauma, anxiety, and depression during the pandemic.

The study looked at urine toxicology tests for cannabis from the first prenatal visit for 100,005 pregnancies from January 2019 to December 2020 for data. This trend draws concern due to the reported potential risks to babies such as birth weight being affected and possible neurodevelopmental issues.1

Deborah Ansley, MD, regional medical director for Kaiser Permanente’s Early Start prenatal health programexplains, “We need to get the word out more effectively that cannabis is not a healthy choice during pregnancy.”1


1. Cannabis use by pregnant women increased during pandemic. News Release. EurekAlert! Accessed September 27, 2021.

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