Symptom Relief Cited for Cannabis Use During Pregnancy

Reasons reported for cannabis use similar for prepregnancy and lactation periods with emphasis on symptom management during pregnancy

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MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant and lactating people who use cannabis report many reasons for such use, particularly symptom management, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Meredith Vanstone, Ph.D., from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted telephone and virtual interviews with 52 individuals from across Canada to understand why pregnant and lactating people use cannabis.

The researchers identified three categories of reasons that people use cannabis during pregnancy and lactation: sensation-seeking for fun and enjoyment; symptom management of chronic conditions and conditions related to pregnancy; and coping with the unpleasant, but nonpathologized, experiences of life. Interviewees endorsed reasons for using cannabis in each of these categories before pregnancy. Reasons for cannabis use during pregnancy shifted primarily to management of symptoms. Reasons for use during lactation were similar to those described for cannabis use before pregnancy.

"I think it's important for physicians to understand that people who use cannabis during pregnancy are often doing so because they perceive important benefits of cannabis for controlling a variety of symptoms," Vanstone said in a statement. "There's an opportunity here for exploring the benefits that pregnant patients are getting from cannabis and helping them find alternatives that we know are safe for both mom and baby."

One author disclosed previous employment as a research analyst at PureSinse Inc. (a licensed cannabis producer).

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