Research shows more pregnant women turned to cannabis during the COVID-19 pandemic

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The pandemic had many expecting mothers begin to use cannabis to treat their symptoms

Marijuana use by pregnant women is nothing new, and according to one study, this trend may have increased by as much as a quarter during the pandemic. Many women have chosen to use the plant for many reasons, from stress to the constant vomiting that pregnancy can cause.

After a study was conducted in Northern California, researchers found a substantial increase in the number of women using marijuana early in their pregnancies, especially after the pandemic broke out. The comparison with previous years seems to be exponential, and more and more pregnant women are turning to the plant to help them cope with the stage.

“Our previous research has shown that the prevalence and frequency of prenatal cannabis use [are] increasing over time and that pregnant women are more likely to use cannabis if they are depressed, anxious, or have experienced trauma. It’s very possible that more pregnant women are using cannabis in an attempt to self-medicate these issues during the pandemic,” said lead author Kelly Young-Wolff.

Young-Wolff indicates that there are several factors that could influence this upward trend in women’s marijuana use. Mandatory stay-at-home, various concerns about contracting COVID-19, the increased burden of childcare, economic challenges caused by unemployment and other issues may be considered sufficient reasons for pregnant women to feel more stressed and thus want to turn to the relaxation afforded by marijuana.

The team compared the results with those of the 15 months prior to the pandemic. They found a 25% increase in the rate of cannabis use. In 2019, about 6.75% of pregnant women were using cannabis at the beginning of pregnancy in that area, while that figure rose to 8.14% once the pandemic began to hit.