Is It Okay to Use Cannabis While You’re Pregnant? Here’s the Research.

Clearing the Smoke on Cannabis Report

by: Erica Ehm
Research about Cannabis while pregnant

I hate to be the one to kill your buzz, but if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you probably want to put the joints and edibles away for a few years. Years? You heard me.

There's finally research confirming that the effects of cannabis can make their way through the placenta or breastmilk to your baby and impact their mental and physical development. Full stop.

Here’s the deal. Back when our parents were making babies, alcohol was the (legal) drug of choice. No one looked twice at pregnant women sipping on wine or having a beer or two. With knowledge comes societal shift. These days, it is shocking to see a pregnant mom doing shots or downing a glass of wine because research found a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. 

Cannabis is becoming the new legalized drug of choice of our generation - it's the most used after alchohol - but until now there hasn’t been definitive research connecting smoking a joint or enjoying edibles to a negative impacting on babies. Now there is. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction (CCSA) just released their Clearing the Smoke on Cannabis Report on cannabis use while pregnant and breastfeeding, and the results are, frankly, scary.

The report looked at various topics on the subject, including seven Canadian, American and Dutch studies conducted over the last 44 years that monitored the long term mental and physical development of over 9,000 babies. Some studies followed these babies into their teens to understand how being exposed to cannabis as a baby impacted their health.

If making babies is in your future, here’s what you need to know about the potential effects of THC and CBD on your baby when using cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding:

  • If you use cannabis during pregnancy, your baby may be born too small or 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.

So now you know. 

But there’s more to cannabis than getting high, right? Over the past few years, some moms have used cannabis to relieve pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, anxiety or sleep disorders. Guess what? According to research, not only is there NO evidence that cannabis is effective in soothing any symptoms, but it also comes with risk to your baby’s development.

Here’s a suggestion. When you’re chatting with your doctor about keeping you and the little human you’re creating safe and healthy, don’t forget to include cannabis use in the discussion You could score some great suggestions on cutting back. Besides, who needs the munchies when you’re pregnant?

Growing a human can be stressful. We’re all looking for ways to chill and have some fun. While cannabis may be off the menu for you while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, there’s nothing wrong with breaking open some decadent dark chocolate and fancy sparkling water to take the edge off. Plus, it’s one more reason for your partner to provide on-demand foot rubs, toilet cleaning or anything you need to help you get through the job of growing a human. We all have to sacrifice for the greater good, right?

Erica Ehm has gone from rock'n roll to rocking the cradle. After a decade starring on MuchMusic, she had kids and is the founder of and the Ehm & Co, a digital agency focused on moms. Erica's two teens Josh and Jessie, and hubby Terry help her put life into perspective.