California already has the world’s largest pot economy and the state is preparing to legalize recreational sales on Jan. 1. But a new study about marijuana use by pregnant women suggests the pot boom is having an overlooked impact on public health.
Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland looked at data collected from 279,000 pregnant women who completed a screening for marijuana use as part of standard prenatal care. Across all age groups in the study, marijuana use by pregnant women saw a modest increase from 4 percent in 2009 to 7 percent in 2016. But over that same period, self-reported weed use by expectant teens under 18 soared from 13 percent to nearly 22 percent, and from 10 percent to 19 percent among pregnant women ages 18 to 24.