Cannabis dispensaries recommend products to pregnant women – ktvz igas energy shares

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(CNN) – 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 percent 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."

In the study, medical dispensaries were more likely to recommend cannabis products than retail dispensaries: About 83 percent and 60 percent did so, respectively. The authors note that the employees they spoke to may not reflect the official policy of a given dispensary.

"They are only licensed to dispense to people who have medical marijuana cards," said Mark, an assistant professor in the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. "This does not mean that they are staffed by people that have any sort of medical education." Doctors’ orders

Though some dispensary employees did not make a recommendation in Metz’s study, some claimed that eating versus smoking cannabis products could make their products safer. Others recommended that the women not broach the subject with their doctors.

Metz and her colleagues wrote that there are no regulations in Colorado surrounding what recommendations and advice dispensaries can give to customers. Cannabis products in the state are, however, required to be labeled as follows: "There may be additional health risks associated with the consumption of this product for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning on becoming pregnant."

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that "women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use" and "to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy."

Prior research has suggested a rise in pregnant women using pot — sometimes to ease the nausea of morning sickness or heightened anxiety. The highest increase may be among women 24 and younger, according to a study of pregnant women in California in December.

There are conventional medications for morning sickness that are considered safe for pregnancy, such as vitamin B6 and doxylamine, an antihistamine sold under brands like Unisom. For some women, eating small, frequent meals and staying hydrated can help, Mark said.

"My impression is that some women have a certain level of skepticism when it comes to the health care system," she said, and that some might be "leery of taking ‘pharmaceuticals’ during pregnancy but view marijuana as a more ‘natural’ option."

"Legalization does not equate to safety, particularly in pregnancy," she said. "I actually think that the fact that dispensaries are providing any recommendations for treatment of medical conditions is very much overstepping appropriate boundaries."