Cannabis is sending twice as many pregnant “people” to the hospital, says a new study on cannabis use during pregnancy published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
(And yes, the study calls pregnant women “people” in an attempt to be “inclusive” by insulting women and rejecting biological facts.)
The researchers looked at over 950,000 pregnancies between January 2015 and July 2021. They found the rate of ER and hospital visits related to cannabis use during pregnancy doubled.
Ergo, legalization has failed Canada’s pregnant “people.”
Of course, doubling the rate sounds bad until you ask what the baseline is. Before legalization, for every 100,000 pregnancies, hospitals saw 11 women seeking care for consuming too much cannabis.
After legalization? It’s 20 women per 100,000. And as per the study, these women were “very high” and thus seeking help.
In other words: the reefer madness hysteria drummed up by this study is not justified.
Cannabis Sending Pregnant Women to Hospital: Study
As per the research, pregnant “people” have “cannabis use disorder” and thus cannot control or stop their use even when they’re pregnant. They came to this conclusion because 22 percent experienced withdrawals.
But how does one casually link physical withdrawals of a substance to physiological dependency? They are two different processes. One is the physical state of the brain and body excreting a drug; the other is the subjective experience of that phenomenon.
The study suggests that “cannabis use during pregnancy is associated with adverse perinatal and neonatal outcomes, including stillbirth, preterm birth and neonatal morbidity and mortality.”
Additionally, they cite “evidence” of an association between cannabis use during pregnancy and autism. But the study they refer to emphasizes a “cautious interpretation” due to confounding factors.
Likewise, the other studies they refer to rely on self-reported cannabis use. One of them doesn’t even support the conclusions they claim it does.
Consider one of the papers they cite: “Maternal marijuana use, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and neonatal morbidity.”
It says, “After adjustment for tobacco, clinical, and socioeconomic factors, marijuana use was not associated with the composite adverse pregnancy outcome.”
It goes on to say,
Similarly, among women with umbilical cord homogenate and serum cotinine data (n = 765), marijuana use was not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes (adjusted odds ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.18–5.66). Neonatal intensive care unit admission rates were not statistically different between groups (16.9% users vs 9.5% nonusers, P = .12).
They admit that “marijuana use was still associated with composite neonatal morbidity or death,” but only after controlling for “tobacco, race, and other illicit drug use.”
How cannabis use during pregnancy differs between ethnic groups remains to be seen.
As well as adjusting the results not to include tobacco damage is also suspect. Especially when both cannabis and tobacco use were self-reported.
Methodological Problems with the Study
As always, researchers love to use specific tools that will provide the results they expect. This study is no different from many studies that paint cannabis as a toxic substance.
Here are the issues with the study saying cannabis is sending pregnant women to the hospital:
- It’s an observational study. Researchers cannot establish casualty. The other paper referenced (linking cannabis to autism) was aware of this limitation. This recent study ignores the problem and cites observational research as scientific evidence.
- This study relies on Ontario, Canada’s population of pregnant “people.” While it’s safe to assume what is true for Ontario‘s pregnant women is true in, say, Montana, the specific population sample limits the generality of the findings.
- As mentioned, the data in this study and the others rely on self-reporting. What kind of cannabis did the women consume? Sativa? Indica? Low-THC high-CBD strains? How strong was it? What was the terpene profile like? What were the primary delivery methods? What about other non-cannabis-related hospital visits? Maybe these 20 women out of 100,000 would also visit an ER for a bruise or scrape. What was the mental health of these women like?
- The paper mentions using multivariable logistic regression models to identify cannabis and pregnancy risk factors. But the researchers don’t provide details on these models, including the variables used or how they measured them.
- This paper focuses on acute care visits related to cannabis, comparing it to acute care visits for non-cannabis substance use as a control. But the researcher’s choice of control introduces biases. Cannabis and other “non-cannabis substances” can’t be compared.
Cannabis Sending Pregnant Women to Hospital: Study
Should you use cannabis for morning sickness? That’s a question for you and your doctor. Whether cannabis use during pregnancy causes problems, including stillbirth, the jury is still out.
A Toronto Star article on this study interviewed a range of doctors who said cannabis use during pregnancy was a bad idea. They also insultingly referred to pregnant women as “pregnant people.”
But at the end of the article, buried at the bottom, was one doctor, Dr. Lisa Graves, who dared speak the truth.
She said there is too little research on cannabis use during pregnancy.
Of course, “cannabis use” is not a thing. I don’t “use caffeine.” I have a cup of coffee. Sometimes I have two or three. Rarely do I have a fourth.
Likewise, when my sister-in-law was pregnant, her doctor said, “One cup of coffee a day is fine.” Apparently, too much coffee is bad for an unborn child.
And it could be that too much cannabis is harmful to them as well. It could be that in the future, more rigorous studies find that more than 10mg of THC daily is detrimental to healthy development.
The problem is we don’t have any conclusive studies on the topic. Is cannabis sending pregnant women to the hospital? No, women are sending themselves to the hospital.
Their cannabis consumption use may be the reason for the visit. But this study tells us very little (if anything) beyond that.