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Addict Behav. 2019 Dec;99:106082. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106082. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Cannabis use among women of reproductive age in the United States: 2002-2017.

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Department of Family Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA. Electronic address:



In this study of cannabis use in large nationally representative samples of United States (US) women aged 12-44 years, we evaluate variation by pregnancy month and by trimester. We also evaluate cannabis dependence, which might explain why some women continue using cannabis during pregnancy.


Large nationally representative samples drawn for the US National Surveys on Drug Use and Health included 12-44-year-old women asked about pregnancy month, cannabis use, and cannabis dependence (n = 381,199). For this research, we produced month-specific estimates across four-time intervals (2002-2005, 2006-2009, 2010-2013, 2014-2017).


Overall from 2002 to 2017, estimates for non-pregnant women and for pregnant women in Trimester 1 indicate 7%-8% had used cannabis at least once in the 30 days prior to assessment. For pregnancy Month 1, the corresponding estimate is 11%, double Month 3 estimate of 5%. This degree of month-to-month variation is not seen for pregnant women in Trimesters 2 and 3, for whom estimates are 3% and 2%, respectively. Among women using cannabis during pregnancy, an estimated 19% have cannabis dependence, versus an expected value of 13% among non-pregnant women (p < .05).


Evidence of a possibly ameliorative pregnancy-associated reduction of cannabis use prevalence was seen by Month 3 during pregnancy. Cannabis dependence may help account for cannabis use early during pregnancy. Identification and outreach to reproductive age women with cannabis dependence might decrease prenatal cannabis exposure.


Cannabis; Dependence; Marijuana; NSDUH; Pregnancy; Women

[Available on 2020-12-01]

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