Nearly 70 percent of cannabis dispensaries in Colorado have employees who recommend marijuana use for treating morning sickness among pregnant women in their first trimester.
Out of 400 dispensaries in Colorado, 65 percent have employees who base their recommendation on personal opinion while 36 percent have staff who plainly suggest that cannabis use is safe during pregnancy.
While there is 81.5 percent who suggested a discussion with a health care provider, only 31.8 percent gave this advice without the customer asking about it herself.
What's most worrying is that there is no known study to prove that smoking marijuana or taking other cannabis products during pregnancy poses no risk to the unborn baby. In fact, most studies found that consumption of marijuana during pregnancy is harmful to babies.
Colorado Marijuana Dispensaries
The result was obtained through a statewide cross-sectional study that involved a mystery caller methodology. The caller contacted randomly selected dispensaries from the website of the Colorado Department of Revenue Enforcement Division. The caller pretended that she is eight weeks into her pregnancy and suffering from morning sickness.
The study also found that employees who were likely to recommend cannabis use worked in medical dispensaries. Notably, 83 percent of medical dispensaries contacted advised the caller to treat her morning sickness with cannabis products while only 60 percent of retail dispensaries advised doing so.
There is one employee who told the mystery caller to Google about cannabis use during pregnancy and only consults her doctor if she feels apprehensive. Another employee hinted that a "progressive doctor" will not lie to her, adding that previous studies made on marijuana use during pregnancy were mere propaganda.
The researchers, led by Torri Metz, a high-risk obstetrician at Denver Health in Colorado, also highlighted that there are no guidelines in Colorado that regulate the kind of recommendations dispensaries could give their customers. Nevertheless, the cannabis products sold in the state come with labels saying that they may bring additional health risks to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and even to those who are just planning to get pregnant.
Hence, the proponents of the study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology highlight that with more states legalizing the use of marijuana, policy and education efforts should involve the dispensaries as well.
Marijuana Use And Pregnancy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about one in 25 women in the United States who use marijuana while pregnant, even though most of the experts advise otherwise.
The tetrahydrocannabinol or THC found in marijuana can pass through a mother's body to her unborn child. Synthetic marijuana or "spice" is equally harmful. One known risk to babies is a low birth weight on top of other developmental problems.
Even the mere breathing of marijuana smoke can be harmful to both mother and child, according to CDC. Marijuana smoke contains chemicals similar to tobacco smoke.