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GUEST COLUMN: Pregnant mothers, their babies at risk

By: Peter Droege
May 28, 2018 Updated: May 28, 2018 at 4:10 am
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Prominent warning labels on all marijuana products should be immediately required in light of the recent study by doctors at Denver Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine that revealed that nearly 70 percent of dispensaries in Colorado recommended pot products when contacted by women inquiring about the drug as a possible treatment for morning sickness.

According to the study, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, only 4.7 percent of dispensaries shared information on the potential harm to a baby during pregnancy, and 1.8 percent shared that there was risk to both the mother and her baby.

The actions by the marijuana dispensaries puts pregnant mother and their babies at serious risk based on data that shows pot can be harmful to a developing fetus.

In 2015, the American Medical Association approved a policy statement pushing for regulations requiring warning labels about the health risks associated with marijuana use during pregnancy "based on studies suggesting marijuana use may be linked with low birth weight, premature birth, and behavior problems in young children."

The State of Colorado Marijuana Policy website states that "using marijuana while pregnant may harm your baby." The website further warns, "THC (the chemical in marijuana that makes you feel "high") may make it hard for your child to pay attention and learn, especially as your child grows older."

It is dangerous and unacceptable to have untrained staff giving medical advice along with marijuana in Colorado.

CBS4 News revealed last summer that one hospital in Pueblo reported that half the babies tested during a 1-month period tested positive for THC.

Marijuana dispensaries in Colorado are required to include a warning label about the potential risks of using marijuana during pregnancy, but it is in fine print included with a volume of other information.

The state of Colorado should step up and protect the health of mothers and babies by ensuring that prominent warning labels on the potential risks of using marijuana during pregnancy are included on all pot products, and direct unqualified dispensary staff to stop giving medical advice along with the weed products they sell.

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Peter Droege is a fellow of Marijuana Policy and Addiction at Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University.

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