Public Health and Safety

Prenatal Cannabis Use & Risks: A New Study

A study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “The Associations between prenatal cannabis use disorder and neonatal outcomes” (Y. Shi et.al) examines potential health issues of newborns of mothers with a cannabis use disorder (CUD) at the time of delivery. Researchers reviewed over 4.8 million California birth records from 2001 – 2012. From that over 20,000 mother / infant pairs were identified where the mother met the criteria for having a CUD. Between 2001 and 2012, the rate of mothers meeting CUD criteria increased by over two fold. Researchers found when compared to a control group, children born to mothers with a CUD had a greater risk of preterm (early) births, lower birth weight and a higher mortality rate during their first year of life.

As the findings in this study are consistent with other research completed in this area, the authors stress that medical professional should routinely screen their pregnant patients for CUD to safeguard both the mother and the child.

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Photo: Pexels / P. Danilyuk