Marijuana shops recommend products to pregnant women, against doctors’ warnings

A majority of cannabis dispensaries in Colorado recommended their products to women posing as pregnant customers with morning sickness, clashing with doctors’ warnings about the potential harms, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Of 400 randomly selected dispensaries in Colorado, about seven in 10 recommended cannabis products as a treatment for morning sickness. Nearly two-thirds of the employees who answered these calls based these recommendations on “personal opinion,” and more than a third said cannabis was safe during pregnancy. Roughly 32% of employees recommended the caller talk to a health care provider without the caller having to bring it up herself.

“I was really surprised,” said study author Dr. Torri Metz, a high-risk obstetrician at Denver Health in Colorado, where marijuana was legalized in 2012. “I did not expect dispensaries to be recommending cannabis products to pregnant women.”

Metz said women seek information on cannabis use during pregnancy from a variety of sources beyond their doctors — including the internet, friends and family.
“Women are hesitant to disclose any kind of drug use in pregnancy to their health care providers for fear of potential legal ramifications or involvement by social services,” she said.
Experts worry that some of these women may seek advice from cannabis retailers, expecting that they have specialized knowledge on the drug’s safety during pregnancy.
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