American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Scheele A, et al. Trend in marijuana exposure in newborns before and after legalization of recreational marijuana. Presented at: AAP National Conference & Exhibition; Oct. 2-5, 2020; virtual.

Disclosures: Scheele reports no relevant financial disclosures.
October 03, 2020
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Number of THC-exposed newborns increases after recreational marijuana legalized

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Scheele A, et al. Trend in marijuana exposure in newborns before and after legalization of recreational marijuana. Presented at: AAP National Conference & Exhibition; Oct. 2-5, 2020; virtual.

Disclosures: Scheele reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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There was a 32.5% increase in tetrahydrocannabinol-exposed newborns at a Michigan hospital following the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state, according to a study presented during the AAP National Conference & Exhibition.

Researchers said the finding suggests that pregnant women are more likely to smoke marijuana if it has been legalized for recreational use.

Allek Scheele

“This is important because long-term studies show that in utero [tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)] exposure leads to impaired neurodevelopment, leading to problems with memory, attention and cognition,” Allek Scheele, MD, a hospital medicine fellow at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, told Healio.

In their study, Scheele and colleagues identified the rate of newborn exposure to marijuana in utero before and following the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan in a 2018 vote.

According to the study, between January 2014 and January 2020, 320 newborns in the hospital’s well nursery and NICU tested positive for THC in their meconium. In 2014, the number of newborns with positive traces of THC in the meconium was 5 per 1,000 live births. It was 4.9 in 2015, then increased each of the following years to 5.5, 6.8, 8, and then 10.6 in 2019, a 32.5% increase from the previous year.

The researchers noted that the number of newborns who tested positive for THC more than doubled over the study period, with the largest increase occurring in the year after legalization.

Scheele said clinicians need to be more aware of this trend so they can better counsel patients and families in order to decrease exposure and improve child health.