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Study: Most Dispensaries Recommend Marijuana During Pregnancy

By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4) - Results of a Denver Health study found nearly 70 percent of licensed Colorado dispensaries contacted as part of the study recommended marijuana to pregnant moms to help with morning sickness.

Denver Health Medical Center
Denver Health Medical Center (credit: CBS)

The study published Wednesday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology was done using a mystery caller approach to nearly 400 Colorado dispensaries in June and July of 2017. In each call, the person told the dispensary they were eight-weeks pregnant and suffering from morning sickness.

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CBS4's Joel Hillan interviews Dr. Torri Metz. (credit: CBS)

The study's lead author Torri Metz, MD, a Perinatologist at Denver Health said she was surprised by the findings.

"We did not anticipate that 69 percent of the dispensaries contacted would have a recommendation. We expected a much higher proportion of them to say that they could not make a recommendation or to encourage women to talk with their healthcare providers," she said.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

She is concerned because the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend women refrain from marijuana use, citing possible adverse effects to the developing fetus.

"We do know that THC crosses into the placenta and so if a woman is using marijuana during pregnancy it does cross to the fetus so it's definitely plausible that there would be effects on the fetus," she said.

Cannabis advocate Mason Tvert with VS Strategies cited research published in the journal Pediatrics in the 90s and a follow-up study done through the National Institute of Health and called the fears overstated.

Actual quotes from the phone calls were published in the study.

When one woman asked whether she should speak with her healthcare provider, one dispensary employee said they thought it would be a "smart choice," another suggested, "Google it first."

Another suggested some doctors would just lie to you or will just try pushing pills on you.

When asked if cannabis is safe to take during pregnancy one employee said, "I know aspirin is okay for babies, and that is pretty much what you are getting in an aspirin. That is probably better."

Metz said she recommends women use treatments prescribed by a physician to treat nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and not marijuana.

LINKS: 1994 Prenatal Marijuana Exposure Article | NCBI Marijuana Study

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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