Marijuana is the dependent substance used most commonly during pregnancy.
Marijuana & Pregnancy – Facts for Health Care Professionals
Today’s marijuana is 20 times more potent than in the 70’s
Digesting marijuana can be more dangerous than smoking
Medical marijuana is not safer than adult recreational use
Hemp products contain trace amounts of THC and can lead to a positive drug screen.
Hemp products are not regulated by the FDA
There is little research that suggests CBD is safe to use during pregnancy
The problem with current research on marijuana & pregnancy:
There is no consistency in measuring the amount of marijuana consumed
Most studies were completed when the average THC content was about 10% which is considerably lower than current use
Polysubstance use, and the pattern of marijuana use continually changes.
Most research focuses on smoking marijuana and few report on the increasing popularity of consuming edibles.
Short-Term Effects on the Body
Damaged blood vessels when smoked
Increased heart rate
Decreased blood pressure may cause dizziness or fainting, leading to injury to both mother and fetus.
Increased risk of anemia when used during pregnancy
Short-Term Effects on the Brain
Sleepiness and fatigue
Confusion and forgetfulness
Anxiousness and fear of others (paranoia)
Did you know?The chemicals in marijuana, such as THC, are carried readily across the placenta.
Prenatal marijuana use could result in a disruption in brain development as cannabinoid receptors have been identified in fetal brain and placenta.
Why do women use marijuana during & after pregnancy?
The most common reasons are a belief that marijuana will:
relieve nausea or vomiting
relieve stress or anxiety
improve mental and spiritual well-being
Women who admitted to using believe marijuana is safe when compared with other substances. Many dispensaries across the county advertise the safety of using marijuana during pregnancy.
Current research suggests using marijuana during pregnancy can result in
Low birth weight
Future problems in comprehension, learning, and memory
Hyperactivity, inattentiveness, or impulsive behavior
Increased risk of depression or anxiety
While there is some research on marijuana use during pregnancy and childhood development, much more is needed to understand its long-term effects.
Facts About Marijuana Use Before, During and After Pregnancy
Marijuana & Fertility
Individuals who are trying to get pregnant should be advised to not use marijuana. Long-term marijuana use may
Lower the number and mobility of sperm
Disrupt the female menstrual cycle
Decrease egg implantation
Decrease the success of an in vitro fertilization procedure
Marijuana and Breastfeeding
The dangers of marijuana use while breastfeeding include:
THC passes from the blood into breastmilk
There may be up to eight times more THC in breast milk than in a mother’s blood.
THC and other cannabinoids are stored in fat cells and slowly released back into the bloodstream. This means cannabinoids may still be in the blood and passed on to breastfeeding baby after the mother has stopped using..
Babies exposed to THC through breastmilk may exhibit
Reduced muscular tone and poor sucking, impacting breastfeeding success
Decreased infant motor skills development
Problems with brain development, behavior, and mental health
CBD use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding
While CBD is known for its non-psychoactive properties and medicinal aid, there is no comprehensive research studying the effects of CBD on the developing fetus, pregnant mother, or breastfed baby. However, current studies suggest concerns for using CBD during pregnancy.
Tested on animals, CBD caused problems with reproductive systems
Some amount of CBD transfers to baby through breastmilk
CBD products are potentially contaminated with other substances such as THC with known risks to mother and child
Other contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals and bacteria have been found in CBD products
Based on clinical studies in humans, risks to using CBD include:
harmful interactions with other drugs
Click here for a list of sources for this page
Characteristics of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy — Eight States, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2017 Jean Y. Ko, PhD1; Kelsey C. Coy, MPH1,2; Sarah C. Haight, MPH1; Tamara M. Haegerich, PhD3; Letitia Williams, MPH1; Shanna Cox, MSPH1; Rashid Njai, PhD4; Althea M. Grant, PhD MMWR / August 14, 2020 / Vol. 69 / No. 32 US Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CMAJ 2021 December 20;193:E1906-14. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.211236
Is cannabis safe during preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding? Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2018 Cat.: H14-264/5-2018E-PDF ISBN: 978-0-660-27413-3 Pub.: 180234
Marijuana Use in Pregnancy: A Review Rebecca Thompson, MD , Katherine DeJong, MD, Jamie Lo, MD Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2019 July ; 74(7): 415–428. doi:10.1097/OGX.0000000000000685.
Thinking about becoming pregnant? Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2018 | Cat.: HP35-114/1-2018E-PDF | ISBN: 978-0-660-27813-1 | Pub.: 180309