A recent study by a group of researchers at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute has found that cannabis use during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of delivering the child early.
For the study, which was first published in the Journal of American Medical Association, researchers looked at 661,617 pregnancy cases, among whom 9,427 women were cannabis users.
The researchers found that nearly 12% of the pregnant cannabis users experienced preterm births, in comparison with only 6% in non-users.
Emphasis was also laid on other drugs/recreational agents the women consumed during pregnancy:
- 59% reported using tobacco
- 20% said that they consumed alcohol
- 11% accepted that they used opioids
Among the women who vowed that they used nothing other than cannabis, the rate of preterm birth stood at 9.1%.
“The chances of a preterm birth associated with cannabis exposure were most significant among the groups that either consumed the drug alone or along with tobacco,” the authors noted in their study.
Notably, tobacco has been long believed to be among the major causes of preterm births, besides pregnancy-induced hypertension, infection, and incompetent cervix.
The authors, however, admit the fact that there are a few limitations of the study as the data was retrieved from “self-reports, physician disclosure and routine-care records that are influenced by a number of factors like desirability bias, social stigma and fear of intervention by social services or child protection authorities.”
As more states and, in fact, countries continue to move towards legalization of the drug, the study authors feel that the rate of preterm births is only going to surge with time. Thus, there is a dire need to gather concrete evidence on the negative effects of THC so that expecting mothers could be educated in time.