Effects of Cannabis Use during Pregnancy
The Canadian government plans to legalize cannabis by July 1, 2018. With the impending legalization of cannabis, it is important to note that the legal use of cannabis does not necessarily make it safe. There is no known safe amount of cannabis use during pregnancy.
Currently, there is limited Canadian data about the prevalence of cannabis use during pregnancy. Cannabis use among women in Canada is on the rise, with approximately 11% of women of childbearing age reporting cannabis use in the past year according to Health Canada (2013). Cannabis use is high among young women and men of childbearing age; 29.7% of individuals age 20-24 years report past year use. It is estimated that about 5% of pregnant women use illicit drugs during pregnancy, though it is not known what percentage use cannabis specifically.
Research on cannabis use during pregnancy demonstrates some potential negative outcomes associated with heavy use (one or more joints per day). Cannabis use during pregnancy may:
• Affect the ability to become pregnant as a result of changes in the menstrual cycle for women and lower sperm count and poorer sperm quality in men
• Increase the risk of preterm birth
• Lead to lower birth weight of the baby
• Be associated with longer-term developmental effects in children, adolescents, and adults including decreases in memory function, attention, and reasoning and problem solving skills, and increases in hyperactive behaviour and future substance use
Click to read more: Cannabis-Use-and-Pregnancy-Policy-Alert