Pot and pregnancy – what you should know

October 17, 2018 marks the start of legal marijuana in Canada.  The news is full of questions about how the roll out will work – where pot will be bought and smoked – but we’re guessing our families want to know about safety.  So here are a few answers for you.

 

Marijuana is now legal in Canada but it is not safe in pregnancy.

Is it safe to use pot when I’m pregnant?

Probably not.  It’s hard to do studies of this sort on pregnant people but the evidence we do have shows that using marijuana can lead to preterm labour and low birthweight babies. (1)  It also seems that babies exposed to marijuana through pregnancy or breastmilk go on to have long-term behavioural and learning challenges like poor memory and impulse control, hyperactivity, and a greater chance of substance abuse later in life. (2)

Just like with tobacco and alcohol, using less is safer and using none is safest.

What if I don’t actually smoke it?

That doesn’t matter.  If the active ingredients, including THC, are in your blood then they are crossing the placenta and entering breastmilk.  So vaping and eating marijuana have the same effects as smoking it.

I don’t smoke but my partner does, what should I do?

There is even less research about second-hand marijuana exposure than there is about direct use.  A recent review of many studies found that people inhaling second hand marijuana smoke did have THC in their system. (3)  Until we have more information, it’s best to avoid second-hand marijuana smoke the same way you would avoid second-hand cigarette smoke.

I have more questions.

Feel free to talk to your midwife at your next visit, that’s what we’re here for.

 

(1) https://sogc.org/files/Cannabis%20campaign_web.pdf

(2) https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-medication/cannabis/health-effects/effects.html#a3

(3) http://cmajopen.ca/content/5/4/E814.full

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