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Exploring preferences for different modes of cannabis use during early pregnancy: A qualitative study

Rates of prenatal cannabis use are rising, yet little is known about modes of cannabis use during pregnancy. This focus group study with pregnant individuals aimed to examine use patterns and perceptions regarding common modes of prenatal cannabis use. Kaiser Permanente Northern California pregnant adult patients who identified as White or Black and self-reported cannabis use during pregnancy were recruited to participate (N = 53; 40% Black, 60% White; Meanage = 30.3, SD = 5.2). Eighteen focus groups with race-concordant facilitators followed a semi-structured format that queried participants on their prenatal cannabis use, including preferred modes of use (e.g., vapes, blunts, dabs, joints, edibles, topicals, pipes). Focus group discussions were coded and analyzed using a general inductive approach. A range of modes were preferred, with no single mode predominant. Participants’ preferences aligned with four themes: perceived effects and benefits of cannabis, health and safety, convenience and familiarity, and partner and friend influences. Participants sought modes that were accessible and familiar, provided consistent and quick relief for pregnancy-related symptoms, were aligned with partners or friends, and minimized perceived risks while also providing symptom relief. Participants desired evidence-based information about mode safety to better inform mode selection during pregnancy. A range of personal and social factors influenced mode preferences during pregnancy. Many participants desired to reduce harms and use cannabis more safely in pregnancy but received little mode-specific information to guide these preferences. Further research identifying mode-specific risks is needed to guide harm reduction approaches during pregnancy.

Authors: Mian, Maha N;Foti, Tara R;Green, Andrea;Iturralde, Esti;Altschuler, Andrea;Does, Monique B;Jackson-Morris, Melanie;Adams, Sara R;Satre, Derek D;Ansley, Deborah;Young-Wolff, Kelly C

Addict Behav. 2023 Nov;146:107812. Epub 2023-07-20.

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