Pregnant women with depression more prone to cannabis use, study finds

19/11/2020

According to a recent study, the use of cannabis is common among pregnant women with depression, making them three times more prone to the intake of cannabis than those without depression. This study at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health would be the first in its kind to study the relationship about the use of cannabis among pregnant women. For the research, whose findings are published in the journal of Drug & Alcohol Depen-dence, drew data from the 2005-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual survey of person ages 12 & older in the US. Pregnant women were categorized as a current cannabis user if they responded they have used marijuana at least once during the past 30 days.
The research also investigated whether the relationship between depression and cannabis use differed by age, other sociodemographic characteristics, and perception of risk associated with cannabis.
"Our findings are timely given rapidly shifting perceptions about risks associated with cannabis use and its legalization," said Renee Goodwin, PhD, in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School.
"We found the prevalence of cannabis use was much higher among those with depression who perceived no risk (24 per cent) relative to those who perceived moderate-great risk associated with use (5.5 per cent)," Goodwin added. Depression appears to increase vulnerability to cannabis use even among pregnant women who perceive substantial risk.
"With legalization, the degree to which dangers are thought to be linked with cannabis use appears to be declining in the U.S. overall, and this may also apply to pregnant women," noted Goodwin.
"Education about risks associated with cannabis use during pregnancy for both mother and offspring, especially among women with prenatal depression, are needed as cannabis is rapidly being legalized across the U.S. and increases among pregnant women have previously been reported," suggested Goodwin. Cannabis use was significantly more common among pregnant women with, compared to without, depression.

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