Pregnant Women's Current and Intended Cannabis Use in Relation to Their Views Toward Legalization and Knowledge of Potential Harm

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The objective of this study was to investigate pregnant women's current use of cannabis and their intended patterns of use with relation to their views on the legalization of cannabis and their knowledge of potential harms.


A voluntary, anonymous survey regarding patterns of use of cannabis and views on legalization was distributed to a convenience sample of pregnant women presenting for prenatal care at an outpatient university clinic. Chi-square and Fischer's exact tests were used for analysis using STATA.


Of 306 surveys returned, 35% of women reported currently using cannabis at the time of diagnosis of pregnancy and 34% of those women continued to use. Seventy percent of respondents endorsed the belief that cannabis could be harmful to a pregnancy. Fifty-nine percent of respondents believed that cannabis should be legalized in some form and 10% reported that they would use cannabis more during pregnancy if it were legalized. Those who continued to use cannabis during pregnancy were less likely than those who quit to believe that cannabis use could be harmful during pregnancy (26% vs 75%, P < 0.001). The most common motivation for quitting cannabis use in pregnancy was to avoid being a bad example (74%); in comparison, only 27% of respondents listed a doctor's recommendation as a motivation to quit.


Cannabis use during pregnancy is relatively common and persistent, despite knowledge of the potential risks of harm. Views toward legalization vary among pregnant women and may impact cannabis use during pregnancy. In a changing legal climate, there is a need for clear messaging on the effects of cannabis use during pregnancy.

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