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Using Social Media Survey and Recruitment Methods to Sample Women’s Experiences with Cannabis Use During Pregnancy: A Mixed Methods Study

Funding Source

NIDA, T32DA037202; NIDA, P30DA029926; Dartmouth Intramural funding

Project Period

1/1/21 - 5/30/21

Principal Investigator

Alan J. Budney, PhD (Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth); Chelsea K. Pike (Dartmouth College); Michael J. Sofis, PhD (Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth)

Project Summary

Cannabis use is increasingly common among pregnant women despite concern that it may be linked to adverse maternal and infant outcomes. Determining whether variables associated with cannabis use predict whether women continue or quit using during pregnancy may inform strategies to reduce prenatal use. The current study used social media to recruit, enroll, and survey pregnant women who had used cannabis pre-pregnancy. Survey items assessed sociodemographics, pregnancy characteristics, cannabis use characteristics, cigarette use, perceptions of risk/benefit, DD, anxiety, depression, and communications with doctors. Analyses were performed to assess associations between these variables and cannabis use or quitting behavior post becoming pregnant.

Public Health Relevance

Employment status, use of tobacco cigarettes pre-pregnancy, trimester, perceived risk of prenatal cannabis use, frequency of prepregnancy cannabis use, and age of initiation of use are robust predictors of cannabis use status during pregnancy. Identifying these and other important correlates may provide targets for  intervention strategies, but further research is needed to fully understand prenatal cannabis use and its effects on the baby. Doing so will allow for improved education of women and healthcare providers and facilitate more proactive and effective strategies to address cannabis use among this vulnerable population.