Health risks of cannabis use during pregnancy

Crossed out cannabis leaf on pregnant belly

The government of Canada legalized cannabis on Oct 17, 2018. Does this mean that it’s safe to use cannabis during pregnancy?

Some people have reported that using cannabis during pregnancy helps to manage morning sickness. However, due to the potential risks to the pregnancy, unborn baby and mother, safer approaches should be discussed with a health care provider.

Cannabis is a plant which contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The chemical THC makes people feel high when smoked, eaten or vaped and CBD provides medicinal effects such as decreasing pain and anxiety. It may contain over 400 chemicals.

Using cannabis during pregnancy may increase the risk of: 

  • Baby not getting enough supply of oxygen and nutrients
  • Low birth weight
  • A small for gestational age baby
  • Premature birth

Other possible effects of cannabis include difficulty getting pregnant and children possibly having difficulties with learning, behaviour and mental health later in life.

While research on the effects of cannabis use is still emerging, current evidence shows there is no known safe amount of cannabis use during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a critical and vulnerable time for the development of your unborn baby. It’s safest to avoid cannabis in any form to protect your baby from potential risks.

Individuals who plan to get pregnant or are pregnant are encouraged to seek advice from their health care provider on the potential risks associated with cannabis use during pregnancy and the effects on baby’s development.

Video: Not Just an Herb, SOGC

If you or your partner are concerned about cannabis use and/or any other substance use speak to your health care provider. You can also eChat or speak with a Public Health Nurse at (416) 338-7600.

2 thoughts on “Health risks of cannabis use during pregnancy

  1. Have there been any documented cases of miscarriage, small gestetational age or premature birth as a direct result of consuming marijuana while pregnant?

    1. Hi Vida,

      Thanks for your comment.

      More research is needed to get a better understanding of the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy. The current evidence shows the potential risks, and that greater use may be associated with problems during pregnancy and child development.

      For more detailed information, please see the following resources:

      • The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist of Canada:

      • CanFASD Network:

      Please contact Toronto Public Health (416) 338-7600, if you have any further questions.

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