'Don't use cannabis when you are pregnant or breastfeeding,' doctors warn

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should bear in mind the potential harmful effects of cannabis use, Canada’s obstetricians say.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SOGC) said evidence-based studies point to how cannabis could harm growth and development if used while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Potential effects include:

  • Pre-term labour.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Lower IQ scores.
  • Impulsivity and hyperactivity in childhood.

In a U.S. study, about 70 per cent of pregnant and nonpregnant women who were surveyed believed there was slight or no risk of harm from using marijuana once or twice a week. 

THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, crosses the placenta into fetal tissue and can also accumulate in breast milk — whether from vaping, smoking, eating or smearing it doesn’t matter.

The group launched its public awareness campaign on 420, the annual protest against marijuana prohibition. It was not a coincidence that the campaign is starting on 420, a spokeswoman said.

“In light of the current research, our message is simple, don’t use cannabis when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and please talk to your doctor.”

The campaign includes educational videos and social media material that’s been made possible with financial support from Health Canada.

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CBC | Health News