The current study examined distinct characteristics of yearly trend, sociodemographic, and treatment-related variables of prenatal cannabis use as the primary drug of choice among pregnant women admitted to substance use treatment for the first time.Methods:
The Treatment Episode Data Set-Admission between 1992 and 2015 was used for a cross-sectional study focused on prenatal cannabis use reported at treatment admission.Results:
Among pregnant women admitted to substance use treatment for the first time (n = 489,796), 40.6% reported any level of cannabis use, and 40.8% reported cannabis use as the primary drug of choice at treatment admission. Adjusted for other characteristics, a statistically significant change in overall trends for any prenatal cannabis use, and also in cannabis use as the primary drug of choice over 20 years was detected. While pregnant women reporting cannabis use as the primary drug of choice were significantly less likely to co-use other substances, those involved in the criminal justice system were significantly more likely to co-use cocaine and opioids, but significantly less likely to co-use alcohol.Discussion/conclusion:
Continued monitoring of prenatal cannabis use and patterns of other substance co-use is encouraged, given the perceived harm of cannabis use in young generations has lessened in recent years, coinciding with the legalization process. Targeted education materials and treatment options to treating prenatal cannabis use should be developed tailored to substance use characteristics and criminal justice involvement.