New Canadian laws will be coming into effect in 2018 to legalize the use of marijuana. But just because marijuana is being legalized, does it mean it is safe to use in pregnancy or when planning a pregnancy?
What is marijuana?
Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant and contains over 700 chemicals. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active chemical compound that creates the high feeling when smoked, eaten or vaped. The other chemical compounds called cannabidiols (CBD) provides medicinal effects such as decreasing pain and anxiety.
Evidence shows that marijuana use before and during pregnancy can have lifelong implications for you and your future baby.
5 ways marijuana use can affect your health and your baby’s health:
Marijuana can affect fertility.
Evidence shows heavy use (more than 1 joint per day), can make it harder to become pregnant. This is due to a potential decreased number and quality of sperm in men and changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle pattern.
Smoking marijuana decreases oxygen availability for baby.
This can cause long lasting effects; some of which may not appear until a child attends school. Problems with attention span, ability to learn, making decisions and understanding consequences are among the challenges.
Increases the risk of preterm birth and low birthweight.
Smoking both cigarettes and heavy marijuana use, may lead to preterm birth and low birthweight in babies.
Can potentially worsen mental health problems.
Increasing evidence shows heavy marijuana use can worsen existing diagnosed mental health problems
Is often used in combination with other drugs.
Marijuana is often used together with other drugs particularly alcohol, of which there is no safe amount in pregnancy.
Decrease your risks by:
- Making an appointment with your doctor to discuss you and you partners plan for a future pregnancy.
- Obtaining early prenatal care and attending prenatal classes
- Avoid or stop using marijuana if you and your partner are thinking about having a baby or are pregnant.
- Cut back with each use if you are unable to stop.
- If you are having concerns with nausea, pain and/or have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, speak with your health care provider to discuss available safe treatments.
The effects of heavy marijuana use can last weeks to years after stopping.
There is no safe amount of marijuana in pregnancy. You and your unborn baby can be affected by its use. Speak with your health care provider and gather credible information to help keep you and your baby safe during this vulnerable time.
Chat with a nurse if you have more questions.