According to a study published in the Journal of Addiction, Research and Therapy, marijuana use in pregnancy may be more prevalent than tobacco use because pregnant women perceive the drug as a safer alternative to tobacco use. The study was completed by researchers at Wayne State University.

Two study pools were questioned in the data collection phase. The first study group was made up of 100 postpartum women asked to self-report marijuana and tobacco use during pregnancy. The second study group was made up of 50 postpartum women asked about the safety and monetary costs of health-related issues associated with marijuana use during pregnancy.

Seventeen-percent and 11% of women in group one reported using tobacco and marijuana during pregnancy, respectively. Urine and hair testing revealed the number to be significantly lower than the number of women who actually came in contact with or used marijuana. Fourteen-percent of women tested positive during urinalysis and 28% tested positive via hair testing.

The second group of women reported marijuana use was safer during pregnancy than tobacco use with almost 50% of women reporting marijuana use would result in lower medical costs than tobacco use.

Source: Beatty JR, Svikis DS, Ondersma SJ. Prevalence and Perceived Financial Costs of Marijuana versus Tobacco use among Urban Low-Income Pregnant Women. J Addict Res Ther. 2012 Sep 30;3(4). pii: 1000135.