Cannabis Use: Know the Facts
Updated January 2nd, 2019
Cannabis comes from the cannabis plant. Many people in Canada use cannabis occasionally. They use it to relax, feel high, for medical purposes and to help manage mental health symptoms. Cannabis can be: inhaled (smoked), swallowed (in food and drinks), placed under the tongue (strips and sprays), or applied on the skin (oils and creams).
- If you’re using cannabis to manage your stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health symptoms the best choice is to seek other supports. Talk to your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, Family Doctor Finder can help. Also see our information on Well-Being and Mental Health.
Even though cannabis is legal in Manitoba, there is no amount that is safe in fertility planning, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Cannabis use affects health, learning, relationships, children and parenting.
Cannabis and Sperm
Cannabis has been shown to reduce the number and quality of sperm which can make it more difficult for a couple to become pregnant.
Cannabis and Pregnancy
Cannabis use in all forms may affect the way your unborn baby’s brain develops.
This can result in mental health, learning and behavioural problems. Some of the effects, such as poor impulse control and hyperactivity, can last into adulthood.
Like tobacco, smoking cannabis reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your unborn baby. This can result in slower growth of your unborn baby, premature birth, and a lower birth weight.
- Because there is no known safe amount cannabis in pregnancy, it is best to avoid it completely.
- If you choose to use cannabis despite the risks, use as little as possible.
Cannabis and Morning Sickness
Some women use cannabis to treat morning sickness. There is no evidence that cannabis is useful for morning sickness. There are safer treatments, ask your health care provider to help find the best option for you. Also check out our article for tips on coping with morning sickness.
Cannabis and Breastfeeding
When you use cannabis the active chemical called THC, is stored in your fat cells (like your brain and breast tissue). When your baby breastfeeds, THC is passed through your breast milk and it enters your baby’s brain and body, where it can remain for weeks.
When a baby is exposed to cannabis through breastmilk, the effects are similar to when a baby is exposed during pregnancy. The baby may have sleep problems, be fussier and startle easily. As the baby grows she may have problems with memory, reasoning, focusing and be easily distracted.
- The healthiest choice for your baby is to breastfeed and avoid cannabis use. For more information on breastfeeding your baby click here.
- If you choose to use cannabis while breastfeeding despite the risks, use as little as possible.
Cannabis and Parenting
Parents who use cannabis need to be aware of the risks to their children. These include: