MAY 09, 2024 11:35 AM PDT

Health Risks of Concurrent Cannabis and Nicotine Use During Pregnancy

It has long been known that smoking during pregnancy can result in bad health for newborns, but what are the consequences of smoking both nicotine and cannabis during pregnancy? This is what a recent study published in JAMA hopes to address as a team of researchers investigated the potential health risks for newborns when pregnant mothers smoke both nicotine and cannabis during pregnancy. This study holds the potential to help researchers, medical practitioners, and the public better understand the health risks of cannabis as its recreational use continues to become legalized across the United States.

“With the growing legalization of cannabis around the country, there is often a perception that cannabis is safe in pregnancy,” said Dr. Jamie Lo, M.D., M.C.R., who is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine and a co-author on the study. “Because we know that many people who use cannabis often use tobacco or nicotine products, we wanted to better understand the potential health implications on both the pregnant individual and the infant.

For the study, the researchers analyzed hospital discharge data of 3,129,259 pregnant women whose records were obtained from the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Health Care Access and Information with the goal of using specific health codes to ascertain cannabis and nicotine use during pregnancy, and specifically the health outcomes of their newborns resulting from this exposure. In the end, the researchers determined that 23,007 used cannabis during pregnancy, 56,811 used nicotine during pregnancy, and 10,312 used both during pregnancy.

Regarding the health risks posed to newborns, the researchers determined that infant deaths had a four times greater risk of occurring for pregnant women who used both nicotine and cannabis compared to non-users, which was also twice the rate of pregnant women who only used either nicotine or cannabis.

“There is still a great deal of stigma around the use of substances during pregnancy,” said Dr. Lo. “With limited research to support official clinical recommendations, it can be a difficult topic for both patients and providers to navigate. Our hope is that this research supports more open and productive conversations that ultimately result in a healthier pregnancy.”

What new discoveries will researchers make between cannabis and pregnancy in the coming years and decades? Only time will tell, and this is why we science!

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

Sources: JAMA, EurekAlert!

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of "Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey".
You May Also Like
Loading Comments...