FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

A study from the Simon Fraser University suggests that a public health prevention program may help reduce cannabis use and smoking in young, first-time mothers.

The study, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal Open recently, found that girls and young women who participated in an intensive program called a Nurse-Family Partnership showed a statistically significant drop in prenatal cannabis use. The women and girls also showed a drop in the daily number of cigarettes they smoked.

“These findings are good news in that they show we can prevent or reduce substance use during pregnancy,” said SFU Children’s Health Policy Centre director Charlotte Waddell. Study scientific director Nicole Catherine agrees. “It’s exciting to see these positive results during pregnancy, which is a crucial window for promoting children’s health and wellbeing.”

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits that begin in early pregnancy and continue until children reach two years of age. The program focuses on young, first-time parents facing socioeconomic disadvantages. It’s sponsored by the health ministry and is in collaboration with health authorities around the province.

Researchers followed 739 women, 368 of whom received the program and 371 who were a comparison group. The median time for starting the program was when women were 20 weeks and six days pregnant. The study found that by 34 to 36 weeks along, the program “significantly reduced cigarette counts… also significantly reduced rates of prenatal cannabis use but not rates of street drug or ‘any’ substance use.”

To read more about cannabis in Canada, visit the Canadian Evergreen, a new age-gated cannabis-focused news and lifestyle website for adult consumers.

The minimum age to legally buy, possess, grow and use cannabis within B.C. is 19 years and over. It is a criminal offence to sell cannabis to a young person under the age of 19. Canadian Evergreen is only for adults aged 19 or over.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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