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J FAS Int 2003;1:e13 - Characteristics of Women Using Marijuana in Pregnancy and their Reported Effects on Symptoms of Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Prospective, Controlled Cohort Study

Kiran Chandra, MSc, Elaine Ho, BSc, Moumita Sarkar, BSc, Jacob Wolpin, PhD, Gideon Koren, MD, FRCPC

Background
Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP) affects the majority of pregnant women. Marijuana has been documented to have antiemetic properties and some pregnant women report to us using marijuana to help them with their NVP.

Objective

To investigate characteristics of women using marijuana for symptoms of NVP and their reports on its effectiveness in pregnancy.

Patients and Methods

One hundred and seventeen women calling the Motherisk Alcohol and Substance Use Help-line regarding marijuana exposure during pregnancy were asked through a standard questionnaire whether they experienced any NVP and the severity of the nausea, vomiting and retching symptoms. The same questionnaire was also used on three hundred and eighty nine women recruited from the Motherisk Helpline who did not have an exposure to marijuana during pregnancy.

Results

In the multivariate analysis, the use of marijuana during pregnancy was associated with a significant reported decrease in nausea symptoms during pregnancy with no apparent decrease in vomiting and/or retching symptoms.

Discussion

While the use of marijuana appears to relieve reported symptoms of nausea during pregnancy, women should be informed about its unproven fetal safety and existing evidence of potential behavioural teratogenesis.

From the Motherisk Program, Division of Clinical Pharmacology/ Toxicology, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Department of Pharmacology, University of Toronto. Supported by and educational grant by Duchesnay, Ltd., Laval Quebec and The Brewers Association of Canada.

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