Infectious Disease

Prenatal cannabis use more common in areas with greater retail availability

November 30, 2022

1 min read

Source/Disclosures

Disclosures:
Young-Wolff reports receiving grants from NIDA during the conduct of the study. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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Use of cannabis among individuals who are pregnant was more common among those living in areas with greater retail availability, researchers reported in JAMA Network Open.

Prenatal cannabis use is associated with health risks for mothers and their children, and research suggests that this type of use in Northern California increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelly C. Young-Wolff, PhD, MPHof the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues wrote.

Prenatal cannabis use was more common among those living in areas with greater retail availability. Source: Adobe Stock

Young-Wolff and colleagues sought to test whether pandemic-related increases in prenatal cannabis use were greater among pregnant women with greater retail availability of cannabis around their homes or amongst those living in jurisdictions that allowed retailers.

The authors conducted a cross-sectional, population-based series study that used data from pregnancies in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care system that were screened for cannabis use before and during the pandemic. Proximity to the nearest retailer and the number of retailers within a 15-minute drive were calculated.

The sample included 99,127 pregnancies in women with a mean age of 30.8 years. Prenatal cannabis use before (6.8%) and during (8.2%) the pandemic was associated with closer proximity to a retailer, greater retailer density, as well as being a resident in a jurisdiction that permitted retailers.

There was a greater absolute increase in cannabis use from before to during the pandemic among those within a 10-minute drive of a retailer (aRD, 0.93 cases per 100 patients; 95% CI, 0.56-1.29), compared with those with a drive longer than 10 minutes (aRD, 0.40 cases per 100 patients; 95% CI, 0.12-0.68).

“Prenatal cannabis use was more common among individuals living in areas with greater retail availability of cannabis,” Young-Wolff and colleagues wrote. “Although relative rates increased similarly during the pandemic regardless of local cannabis retail and policy environment, there was a larger absolute increase associated with living closer to a storefront cannabis retailer.”

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