A new study found that 7 in 10, out of 400 random dispensaries in Colorado, recommended cannabis to women who were pregnant. The women, all posing as pregnant customers, discussed their morning sickness with employees who gave their recommendation on usage.
The study found that nearly two-thirds of the employees went against the normal doctor recommendations and instead used their dispensaries cannabis legale status to offer their own opinion. Doctors warn pregnant patients against the potential harm that cannabis can cause to a fetus, but a third of the employees recommended cannabis to the women, calling it “safe” to consume.
The study found that 32% of the employees asked the caller to contact their health care provider.
Doctors claim that pregnant women often do not ask their own physicians for cannabis because even cannabis light consumption has legal ramifications. Social services may also get involved with the case. Mothers-to-be often ask friends, family or even use the Internet to source cannabis.
“I was really surprised,” said study author Dr. Torri Metz, a high-risk obstetrician at Denver Health in Colorado, where marijuana was legalized in 2012. “I did not expect dispensaries to be recommending cannabis products to pregnant women.”
Researchers conducting the study fear that pregnant women may seek advice from dispensaries that they believe have specialized knowledge of cannabis and its impact on pregnant women. The study also found that 60% of retail dispensaries recommended cannabis products, while 83% of medical dispensaries recommended cannabis products.
The author of the study carefully notes that the acts of the employees, those that recommended cannabis to the women, may not reflect the policy at a given dispensary.
Doctors also state that a medical dispensary is not a medical facility. These dispensaries are licensed to dispense marijuana to customers that have medical marijuana cards.
The long-term health effects of cannabis on a fetus are unclear. Studies suggest that developmental problems may exist as well as the potential for low birth weight. The recommendations of cannabis to pregnant women is unethical, according to researchers. Women and their unborn babies may suffer from health effects.
THC has also been shown to be able to cross through the placenta, which may cause dysfunction in the offspring.
Employees at the dispensaries also went as far as stating “maybe you have a progressive doctor that will not lie to you. All the studies done back in the day were just propaganda.” Dr. Metz also claims that some employees recommended that the women not ask their doctor about it.
Traditional recommendations for marijuana usage are to stop usage when pregnant and to discontinue use for medicinal purposes. The data is insufficient on the impact cannabis has on infants during breastfeeding and lactation.
Morning sickness is the key reason for many women seeking medical cannabis. Women 24 and under are among the highest percentile of users, according to a December study.
A study in 2016 found that 8% of women used marijuana during their pregnancy. The figure is close to that of women that continue to smoke cigarettes while pregnant.