How Marijuana Affects
Here’s what you need to know in order to make the healthiest choices for you and your baby.
- Marijuana During Pregnancy
There is no known safe amount of marijuana to use while pregnant. That's because no matter how it's used (smoked, eaten etc.), THC gets passed to your baby and may have a long-term impact on your child's ability to learn. Talk to your doctor early in your pregnancy about marijuana use.
- Marijuana While Breastfeeding
If you use marijuana while breastfeeding, it gets passed to your baby. THC is stored in fat cells. That means THC stays in your breast milk much longer than alcohol does, so "pumping and dumping" doesn't work the same way with marijuana. THC gets into your breast milk and may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
A doctor can recommend marijuana for pregnant women in special cases. A doctor has the expertise to decide whether the benefits are greater than the risks. In general, it isn’t a good idea to use any medicines while pregnant or breastfeeding that aren’t recommended by a doctor.
Common Questions about Marijuana
You can’t believe everything you read or hear about marijuana. Unless, of course, you see it here.
- Is marijuana safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
There is no known safe amount of marijuana use while pregnant or breastfeeding. There are some foods and medicines you can’t use while pregnant or breastfeeding because they might harm the baby. The same goes for marijuana. No matter how it’s used, if you use marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding, THC gets passed to your baby.
- It’s legal, so doesn’t that mean it’s safe?
The fact that it’s legal does not make it safe. Using marijuana during pregnancy or while breastfeeding may harm your baby, just like alcohol or tobacco.
- It’s natural, so doesn’t that mean it’s safe?
Not all natural substances or plants are safe. Lead, tobacco and poisonous berries are great examples. Marijuana contains THC, which may harm a baby.
- What about using it for medical reasons?
A doctor can recommend marijuana in special cases, so a doctor can decide whether the benefits are greater than the risks. It is unsafe to use any medicines while pregnant or breastfeeding that are not recommended by a doctor. Talk to your doctor about safer choices that do not risk harming your baby.
- Don’t cannabinoids occur naturally in your body?
Some cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, occur naturally in the body and in breast milk. These endocannabinoids help your nerve cells communicate better. However, THC from marijuana is much stronger than your natural endocannabinoids. THC can upset the natural endocannabinoid system in your body. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not use marijuana to avoid any risks of THC.
- Can I use it to treat my nausea?
THC in marijuana may harm your baby. Talk to your health care provider about safer options that do not risk harming your baby.
- Is it still harmful if I vape or eat it instead of smoke it?
If you consume marijuana, you are consuming THC, which is passed to your baby and can cause harm.
Secondhand smoke from marijuana has many of the same cancer-causing chemicals as smoke from tobacco. A smoke-free environment is safest and healthiest. Don’t allow smoking in your home or around your baby.
Some hospitals test babies after birth for drugs. If your baby tests positive for THC at birth, Colorado law says the hospital must notify child protective services. Instead, talk to your doctor early in your pregnancy to get the support you need to be healthy. Your doctor can help connect you with treatments that are confidential and nonjudgmental. Learn more at Mother’s Connection.
If your child eats or drinks marijuana, they may need immediate medical help. Some symptoms to look out for include: problems walking or sitting up, difficulty breathing, and becoming sleepy. If a child may have eaten marijuana, call the poison control hotline, 1-800-222-1222, or 911 if it’s an emergency.
Need Help Quitting?
Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and need help to stop using marijuana. Your treatment will be confidential and nonjudgmental. Learn more at Mother’s Connection. Or call 1-800-CHILDREN for help.