No amount of cannabis exposure is safe during pregnancy, according to our latest report, Clearing the Smoke on Cannabis: Cannabis Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. Until the effects of prenatal cannabis exposure are well understood, the safest option is to avoid using cannabis. But surveys show that while cannabis is the second-most common psychoactive substance used during pregnancy (after alcohol), many pregnant or nursing people haven’t talked with their healthcare providers about the risks.CCSA
We recently shared a poster, Is It OK to Use Cannabis During Pregnancy and While Breastfeeding?, to increase public awareness about the health effects and potential risks.
Now the full report is available, with new findings that support and expand our understanding of this issue. It helps healthcare providers increase their understanding of the latest clinical evidence, so they can advise patients, and improve the health and well-being of patients and their children. The report also helps researchers understand gaps in the knowledge needed to support harm reduction efforts for this population.
Key findings include:
- The effects of cannabis can be passed onto the fetus through the placenta and onto the baby through breastmilk, and can impact the baby’s mental and physical development.
- Use during pregnancy may be associated with babies being born too small and too early.
- Exposure to cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding can interfere with the baby’s attention, memory and reasoning abilities, behaviour and processing of emotions, and problem-solving skills.
- Exposure can increase the baby’s risk of hyperactivity, impulsive behaviours and sleep disorders.
- Growing evidence from human and animal studies shows that paternal cannabis use can also negatively affect children’s neurodevelopment.
- The effects of CBD use during pregnancy or breastfeeding are unknown. Both clinical and preclinical studies are urgently needed to evaluate the safety of CBD use during pregnancy.
- There is not enough evidence to support using any form of cannabis to treat the negative symptoms of pregnancy, such as nausea, vomiting and pain.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding people should have informed discussions with their healthcare providers about the potential adverse effects of cannabis to help them make informed and healthy choices.