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Legal marijuana products should come with warnings according to AMA

Nov 17, 2015 06:08 AM EST

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The American Medical Association (AMA) is pushing for new regulations that require some warning signs about the potential hazard of marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding to be written on legal marijuana products. The regulation was set based on studies that suggest marijuana use may be linked with low birth weight, premature birth and behaviour problems in young children.

The warnings regulation was proposed by Dr. Diana Ramos, a Los Angeles physician with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) at an AMA policy making meeting in Atlanta, according to US News&World Report.

Dr. Ramos said that marijuana products should have similar warnings with alcohol and tobacco products, since its the most commonly used drug during the pregnancy. The use of marijuana during pregnancy is about 5% nationwide, but as high as 28% among some urban low-income women.

Some pregnant women suffering from unrelenting vomiting, ease nausea, chronic pain or depression find relief with medical marijuana. However there are alternatives without the potential risk, said Dr. Judy Chang, an associate OB-GYN professor at the University of Pittsburgh who studies substance abuse in pregnancy.

The AMA's new policy says that some studies have linked marijuana use in pregnancy with attention problems and lower scores on problem solving measure in children. Some studies also suggest that marijuana can affect the quality and quantity of breast milk. The main active ingredient in marijuana, THC, has been found in the breast milk of breastfeeding women.

According to MedicalDaily, the ACOG had released warnings on marijuana use for pregnant  women in past July. The warnings said that women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should avoid marijuana based on the findings that THC can harm fetal brain development. Other studies found that marijuana use during pregnancy may triple the risk of premature and stillbirth.

Marijuana use for medical benefit  is legal in 23 states and Washington D.C. According to 360Nobs, the main ingredient in marijuana works as a pain relief, sleep inducer, and anti depresant.  Marijuana can be legally given in certain states' hospitals as a medical marijuana. Recreational use of marijuana also is legal in Washington D.C., Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon.

AMA's proposal says that several states require health warnings on cannabis product labels but only Oregon requires a point of sale warning about marijuana use in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Meanwhile, critics raises over the warnings proposal. Evidence of marijuana's hazard is said to be weak and more research is needed. The scientific evidence of harm from alcohol and tobacco is much more than from marijuana.

The proposal is now on AMA's lobbying agenda. The AMA will seek regulations to put the warnings into effect.

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