Association of Comorbid Behavioral and Medical Conditions With Cannabis Use Disorder in Pregnancy

JAMA Psychiatry. 2022 Jan 1;79(1):50-58. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.3193.


Importance: Prenatal cannabis use continues to increase, yet studies of the demographic, psychiatric, and medical characteristics associated with cannabis use in pregnancy are limited by size and use of self-report, and often do not consider cannabis use disorder (CUD) or concomitant substance use disorders (SUDs). Understanding the factors associated with CUD in pregnancy is paramount for designing targeted interventions.

Objective: To examine the prevalence of co-occurring psychiatric and medical conditions of US pregnant individuals hospitalized with and without CUD by concomitant SUDs.

Design, setting, and participants: The study analyzed restricted hospital discharge data from the 2010 to 2018 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases in 35 states. Data were analyzed from January to August 2021. Weighted linear regressions tested whether the prevalence of psychiatric and medical conditions differed between individuals with and without a CUD diagnosis at hospitalization. Inpatient hospitalizations of pregnant patients aged 15 to 44 years with a CUD diagnosis were identified. Pregnant patients aged 15 to 44 years without a CUD diagnosis were identified for comparison. Patients were further stratified based on concomitant SUD patterns: (1) other SUDs, including at least 1 controlled substance; (2) other SUDs, excluding controlled substances; and (3) no other SUDs.

Exposures: CUD in pregnancy.

Main outcomes and measures: Prevalence of demographic characteristics, psychiatric disorders (eg, depression and anxiety), and medical conditions (eg, epilepsy and vomiting).

Results: The sample included 20 914 591 hospitalizations of individuals who were pregnant. The mean (SD) age was 28.24 (5.85) years. Of the total number of hospitalizations, 249 084 (1.19%) involved CUD and 20 665 507 (98.81%) did not. The proportion of prenatal hospitalizations involving CUD increased from 0.008 in 2010 to 0.02 in 2018. Analyses showed significant differences in the prevalence of almost every medical and psychiatric outcome examined between hospitalizations with and without CUD diagnoses, regardless of concomitant SUDs. Elevations were seen in depression (0.089; 95% CI, 0.083-0.095), anxiety (0.072; 95% CI, 0.066-0.076), and nausea (0.036; 95% CI, 0.033-0.040]) among individuals with CUD only at hospitalization compared with individuals with no SUDs at hospitalization.

Conclusions and relevance: Considerable growth was observed in the prevalence of CUD diagnoses among individuals hospitalized prenatally and in the prevalence of depression, anxiety, nausea, and other conditions in individuals with CUD at hospitalization. This study highlights the need for more screening, prevention, and treatment, particularly in populations with co-occurring CUD and psychiatric disorders. Research on the determinants and outcomes associated with CUD during pregnancy is needed to guide clinicians, policy makers, and patients in making informed decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Comorbidity / trends*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / complications*
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Abuse / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence