Cannabis laws are changing rapidly with some legalization of medical marijuana and others for recreational use. And we see, thankfully, increasing decriminalization. It's easy, however, to confuse these trends with the idea that marijuana use is safe, that there is no harm. Dr. Deborah Hasin, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Columbia University School of Medicine discusses the changes in the laws, the increasing strength of cannabis and the increasing use of cannabis among pregnant women and adolescents. While tobacco and alcohol use has decreased in pregnancy, marijuana use has not. We speak critically about the implications of these changes.
In this episode, Therese Markow and Deborah Hasin discuss:
The recommendation from the American Association of Obstetricians to avoid marijuana during pregnancy and the growing perception among pregnant women on the safety of cannabis. The conflict of interest between the public health sector and revenue generating marijuana businesses. Reports of non-medically trained marijuana dispensaries encouraging pregnant women to use cannabis during pregnancy.
Since 2012 there has been an increase in recreational marijuana availability and use. 20% of states in the US currently have recreational marijuana use laws. The rates of alcohol use during pregnancy is lower; however, pregnancy and marijuana use rates have increased 64%. Marijuana is not a risk-free substance. Illegal marijuana samples analyzed using consistent procedures show that the THC content of marijuana has grown stronger and stronger over the last couple of decades. Some studies demonstrate children exposed to marijuana in early childhood display challenges with coordination and learning.
"There is a public perception that marijuana is a natural substance; therefore, there’s an assumption that it is safe for use during pregnancy." — Deborah Hasin
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Website: Deborah S. Hasin, Ph. D.
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