Background: Increasing cannabis use among pregnant people and equivocal evidence linking prenatal cannabis exposure to adverse outcomes in offspring highlights the need to understand its potential impact on pregnancy and child outcomes. Assessing cannabis use during pregnancy remains a major challenge with potential influences of stigma on self-report as well as detection limitations of easily collected biological matrices. Objective: This descriptive study examined the concordance between self-reported (SR) cannabis use and urine drug screen (UDS) detection of cannabis exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy and characterized concordant and discordant groups for sociodemographic factors, modes of use, secondhand exposure to cannabis and tobacco, and alcohol use and cotinine positivity. Study design: The Cannabis Use During Development and Early Life (CUDDEL) Study is an ongoing longitudinal study that recruits pregnant individuals presenting for obstetric care, who report lifetime cannabis use as well as using (n = 289) or not using cannabis (n = 169) during pregnancy. During the first trimester pregnancy visit, SR of cannabis use and a UDS for cannabis, other illicit drugs and nicotine are acquired from eligible participants, of whom 333 as of 05/01/2023 had both. Results: Using available CUDDEL Study data on both SR and UDS (n = 333; age 26.6 ± 4.7; 88.6% Black; 45.4% below federal poverty threshold; 56.5% with paid employment; 89% with high school education; 22% first pregnancy; 12.3 ± 3.6 weeks gestation), we classified pregnant individuals with SR and UDS data into 4 groups based on concordance (k = 0.49 [95% C.I. 0.40–0.58]) between SR cannabis use and UDS cannabis detection during the first trimester: 1) SR+/UDS+ (n = 107); 2) SR-/UDS- (n = 142); 3) SR+/UDS- (n = 44); 4) SR-/UDS+ (n = 40). Those who were SR+/UDS- reported less frequent cannabis use and fewer hours under the influence of cannabis during their pregnancy. Those who were SR-/UDS+ were more likely to have joined the study at a lower gestational age with 62.5% reporting cannabis use during their pregnancy prior to being aware that they were pregnant. Of the 40 SR-/UDS+ women, 14 (i.e., 35%) reported past month secondhand exposure, or blunt usage. In the subset of individuals with SR and UDS available at trimester 2 (N = 160) and 3 (N = 140), concordant groups were mostly stable and > 50% of those in the discordant groups became concordant by the second trimester. Classifying individuals as exposed or not exposed who were SR+ and/or UDS+ resulted in minor changes in group status based on self-report at screening. Conclusion: Overall, there was moderate concordance between SR and UDS for cannabis use/exposure during pregnancy. Instances of SR+/UDS- discordancy may partially be attributable to lower levels of use that are not detected on UDS. SR-/UDS+ discordancy may arise from recent use prior to knowledge of pregnancy, extreme secondhand exposure, deception, and challenges with completing questionnaires. Acquiring both self-report and biological detection of cannabis use/exposure allows for the examination of convergent evidence. Classifying those who are SR+ and/or UDS+ as individuals who used cannabis during their first trimester after being aware of their pregnancy resulted in only a minor change in exposure status; thus, relying on self-report screening, at least in this population and within this sociocultural context likely provides an adequate approximation of cannabis use during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107351
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal
  • Urine
  • cannabis


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