More pregnant women are using pot, study finds

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Among teen mothers under age 18, marijuana use during pregnancy surged from about 13 percent in 2009 to nearly 22 percent in 2016, researchers found.

As the study showed the highest increase in marijuana use among women 24 and younger, that age group might hold clues as to why there has been an overall increase, said Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, professor and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern's William P. Clements Jr. For pregnant teens under 18, marijuana use climbed from 12.5 percent to 21.8 percent.

A growing number of pregnant women are using marijuana, and the habit is expanding fastest among teens and young adults, a US study suggests.

The study published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, observed a sample of pregnant women in California.

And with younger women, it appears mother tokes best.

Researchers looked at trends of prenatal cannabis use from 2009-2016 using data from a large California health-care system.

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However, the institute says more research must be done to determine which effects are related to marijuana exposure and which are related to environmental factors that could be associated with the mother's marijuana use, such as poverty or other drug use.

"Marijuana is detectable in urine approximately 30 days after last use and this varies with heaviness of use and marijuana potency", she said.

One expert says it might be because of the increase availability of legal marijuana in recent years.

In many states, medical marijuana can be prescribed for treating conditions including severe nausea and pain - both of which may affect pregnant women - but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women stay away from weed if they want to have a baby.

California was the fist state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. However, on a federal level, it is still illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana.

In spite of its wide use, the new research suggests that pregnant women are still aware of some stigma against them for partaking in a toke or an edible.

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