With cannabis being legalized on Oct. 17, many Canadians are wondering what kind of impact weed can have on their health. While there are a lot questions about the benefits and the risks, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) has come out with a definitive message for new moms and moms-to-be: Marijuana use is not safe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
“Legal doesn’t mean safe, and it is important that individuals be aware of the health risks, particularly for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women,” says the SOGC CEO Jennifer Blake.
The SOGC’s new campaign has launched a video called “Not Just an Herb” that highlights that there are 400 active chemicals found in cannabis that can be passed on to a baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding. The SOGC says 70 percent of pregnant and non-pregnant women believe there is only a slight risk or no risk at all to using cannabis once or twice a week during pregnancy. But there are studies that suggest vaping, smoking, eating or using a topical form of the drug while pregnant or breastfeeding can lead to preterm labour, a low birth weight, lower IQ scores and impulsivity and hyperactivity during childhood. Plus, the use of marijuana could be passing on future mental health and cardiovascular issues to your baby. That’s because chemicals in cannabis can cross the placenta into the fetus when you’re pregnant, and can accumulate in breastmilk when you’re breastfeeding.
Earlier this year, the SOGC released a video called “Times Have Changed” that compares smoking weed or using edible marijuana during pregnancy to the mistakes past generations made by smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol when they were expecting. Sure, it seemed consequence-free at the time, but hindsight is 20/20.
If you’re using marijuana for medicinal reasons, talk to your doctor before trying to get pregnant to find out what’s best for you and your future baby. You can also get more info on the effects of cannabis on pregnancy or breastfeeding at the SOGC’s website PregnancyInfo.ca.
Watch the new video here: