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Exploring the Management of Cannabis Use Among Women and During Pregnancy

Alharbi, Fares F. MBBS, SCC-Psych*; el-Guebaly, Nady MD, FRCPC†,‡

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: June 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 2 - p 93–100
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0b013e318293aecc
Original Articles

Objective: Exploring the potential management of cannabis among women and during pregnancy, an expanding public health issue.

Method: A Medline search was conducted from 1982 to 2012 for articles highlighting drug abuse among women and during pregnancy, with particular emphasis on cannabis/marijuana use during pregnancy and delivery, its management, as well as the impact of the drug on the fetus.

Results: Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug among youth and pregnant women in western societies. Historically, cannabis has been used to alleviate nausea during pregnancy. On reviewing the literature on the use of medication and on psychosocial approaches in women and during pregnancy, clinical guidelines as well as a research agenda including prevalence estimates through urine screening were seen to emerge. The implication of a positive test should not be punitive. Clinical trials on pregnant women should also be conducted. The impact of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids should be further investigated. Particular support of the infant and developing child born from a cannabis-consuming mother is warranted.

Conclusions: Compared with the preventive efforts targeting alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, the increasingly common use of cannabis is relatively neglected and in need of further specific investigations.

*Department of Psychiatry, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Department of Psychiatry, Division of Addiction, University of Calgary

Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, Canada

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Fares F. Alharbi, MBBS, SCC-Psych, King Abdulaziz Medical City, P.O. BOX 22490, Riyadh 11426, Saudi Arabia (e-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins