Article by Angela Stelmakowich, Growth Op
A study comparing groups of pregnant women before and after recreational cannabis legalization in Canada shows the latter group had a 71 per cent higher odds of consuming weed during the preconception period.
Looking at two groups — pregnant women before and after the legalization — the observational study sought to compare rates of cannabis use, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and use of any street drugs during the preconception period and in pregnancy, the study notes. The investigation was open to any pregnant person in B.C. who was 19 or older.
Investigators found that the prevalence of self-reported cannabis use during the preconception period increased from 11.74 per cent pre-legalization to 19.38 per cent post-legalization. While investigators also identified increased use during pregnancy, rising from 3.64 per cent 4.62 per cent for the pre- and post-legalization groups, the change was not statistically significant.
The study shows legalization was not associated with significant changes in cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption or use of street drugs during the preconception period and pregnancy.
While that was also the case for cannabis during pregnancy, it was not during the preconception period. “Adjusting for potential confounders, the post-legalization group had significantly higher odds of cannabis use during the preconception period,” states the research.
“Studies examining the effects of cannabis use on perinatal outcomes, as well as public health interventions and educational programs related to cannabis use, should include the preconception period as an area of focus,” study authors recommend.