About 70 percent of Colorado marijuana dispensaries suggested weed to aid women’s morning sickness, according to a new article published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Researchers used a “mystery caller approach,” meaning a woman would call a dispensary, she was eight weeks pregnant and experiencing morning sickness, and ask for the staff’s recommendations. Of the 400 dispensaries called, 69 percent recommended treatment of morning sickness with marijuana products, and more than a third told women cannabis use is safe during pregnancy.
A Denver-based high-risk obstetrician told CNN she found the results “really surprising,” saying that she didn’t expect so many dispensaries would recommend cannabis to pregnant women. The study’s authors note that “few dispensaries encouraged discussion with a health care provider without prompting.” But pregnant women are often reticent to discuss marijuana use with their physicians for fear of legal problems, social services intervention, or just old-fashioned shaming.
The journal article doesn’t address the medical risks or benefits of marijuana use by pregnant women; instead, it addresses the question of whether dispensaries might be offering medical advice that’s beyond their qualifications. Of the dispensaries contacted, 37 percent were licensed for medical marijuana, 28 percent for recreational, and 35 percent for both. A University Of Maryland professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences tell CNN that the employees’ recommendations—which were mostly based on “personal opinion”—raise questions because even the medical dispensaries might not be staffed by employees “that have any sort of medical education.”