It's no secret teenagers experiment with pot smoking and a new study reveals another significant health concern. Pregnant teens are more likely to smoke marijuana than non-pregnant teens, according to a large study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
The survey, conducted from 2002-2015, involved 410,000 American women from the ages 12 to 44. Among the respondents were 14,400 pregnant women as well, according to CBS News.
The survey showed 14 percent of teenage girls from ages 12 to 17 smoked pot compared to six percent of non-pregnant teens. On the other hand, some two percent of women in the ages of 26 and above admitted to pot smoking while pregnant.
Most of the pot smoking happened during the first trimester of the pregnancy at six percent. The habit, however, declined to two or three percent during the second and third trimester.
Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggested these women might have been pot smoking to alleviate morning sickness and nausea. "Young people increasingly view marijuana not just as a benign, but even as a beneficial drug," the doctor said, as per Reuters.
More moms are reportedly using marijuana to deal with first trimester discomforts, according to Fit Pregnancy. This news comes as the American Medical Association released a statement via The JAMA Network, underscoring the risks of cannabis use while pregnant.
The first trimester makes the fetus more vulnerable to the effects of drug use. "There could be a risk of causing brain damage in a developing baby with pot smoking during pregnancy," according to OBGYN Dr. Judy Chang.
The doctors called on parents to monitor their teenagers for their propensity for risky behaviors. The rate of teen pregnancy declined in the last few years but this new survey highlighted another problem. In addition to marijuana's potential harm to the fetus, doctors said teenagers' brains continue developing at this stage, thus the increased risks on both young mom and her baby.