What You Should Know About Using Cannabis, Including CBD, When Pregnant or Breastfeeding
FDA strongly advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
What do we know about the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?
There are many potential negative health effects from using marijuana and other products containing THC during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General recently advised consumers that marijuana use during pregnancy may affect fetal brain development, because THC can enter the fetal brain from the mother’s bloodstream. The Surgeon General also advised that marijuana may increase the risk of a newborn with low birth weight. Research also suggests increased risk for premature birth and potentially stillbirth1.
While breastfeeding, it is important to know that breastmilk can contain THC for up to six days after use. This THC may affect a newborn’s brain development and result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences.
Additionally, marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful components as tobacco smoke. Neither marijuana nor tobacco products should be smoked around a baby or children.
What do we know about the effects of CBD use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?
There is no comprehensive research studying the effects of CBD on the developing fetus, pregnant mother, or breastfed baby. FDA is continuing to collect and study the data on the possible harmful effects of CBD during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. However, based on what we do know, there is significant cause for concern.
High doses of CBD in pregnant test animals have caused problems with the reproductive system of developing male fetuses2 . In addition, based on what we already know about CBD, we expect that some amount of CBD will be transferred to babies through breast milk.
We also know that there is a potential for CBD products to be contaminated with substances that may pose a risk to the fetus or breastfed baby, including THC. We have also heard reports of CBD potentially containing other contaminants (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, and fungus); we are investigating this.
Moreover, CBD has known risks for people in general. Based on clinical studies in humans, risks can include the following:
liver toxicity (damage)
harmful interactions with other drugs
FDA is studying the effects of CBD use from different angles, such as: (1) the use of CBD-containing products, like food, cosmetics, or supplements, over a person’s entire life; and (2) the effects of using these various products in combination. There are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing CBD.
We especially want to learn more about the effects of CBD during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, including, for example, whether and to what extent the presence of CBD in human milk harms the breastfed baby or the mother’s milk production.
Has FDA approved any CBD products and are there any benefits?
FDA has not approved any CBD products except for one prescription drug to treat rare, severe forms of seizure disorders in children. It is still unclear whether CBD has any other benefits.
Other than the one approved prescription drug, CBD products have not been evaluated or approved by FDA for use as drug products. This means that we do not know:
if they are safe and effective to treat a particular disease
what, if any, dosage may be considered safe
how they could interact with other drugs or foods
whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns
The clinical studies that supported the approval of the one available CBD drug product identified risks related to the use of CBD, including liver toxicity (damage), extreme sleepiness, and harmful interactions with other drugs.
Legalizing something harmful never removes the harm. It just changes the legal consequences usually for those who promote, produce or in other ways profit financially from the ‘legalized’ substance or activity with little to no regard for the negative impact on individuals or society-at-large.
WHAT 60 Minutes Got Wrong:
They said 'you can't smoke the leaves'. Not true. The leaves contain lower amounts of THC and are often used to make extremely high concentrates in the form of hash, butane hash oils, butters, waxes, dabs, edibles, etc. These products make up over 50% of the market. Pot today is 10 to 40 times stronger than in the '70s and these products can be up to 99% THC.
The sheriff said, "The promoters of Prop 64 just wanted to decriminalize marijuana." California decriminalized marijuana in 1975 when the legislature passed a law imposing a maximum fine of $100 for possession.
They said promoters promised Prop 64 would generate $.5 billion. Actually, promoters indicated tax revenues from Prop 64 should be expected to be $1 billion.
The story implied that marijuana businesses are struggling with permits and pond and water discharge fees, etc. All California businesses deal with these types of fees.
The Fact That 60 Minutes Can Get This Much Wrong In A Simple Story Is A Sample Of How Much Misinformation There Is Around About Marijuana
"California produces 10 times more marijuana than is consumed in the state." -60 Minutes. Where does the rest go? California is the marijuana cartel for the rest of the country.
"Politicians, such as Gavin Newsom, should not be trusted to make decisions on pot that impact public health and safety. He knew Prop 64 wouldn't work but he pretended for the sake of gaining favor with the pot industry and users. Being a "cool" politician can be a danger to the people." - Scott Chipman, Vice President of AALM
"Federal enforcement should be increased. We need a national education program on the harms of marijuana and dangers because the public has not been told THC (marijuana/pot) is extremely potent, long-acting, highly addictive, and causes damage to kids' developing brains not to mention the damage it inflicts on communities and the environment. It is the most dangerous drug in the country because virtually no one knows the dangers and the dangers are great." - Carla Lowe, President of AALM
BREAKING: New Colorado Data Show Youth Marijuana Use Increasing Since 2017
Increase also seen since period when legalization started; youth dabbing quintupled in recent years
(Alexandria, Va) - Today, a new survey released by the state of Colorado finds that marijuana use has skyrocketed in the last two years with nearly 21% of young people in the state reporting past month use. Notably, use in young teens (aged 15 and younger) has increased 15.5% from 2017 (the last time data was collected).
“Today’s Colorado survey results show pot legalization has failed at keeping marijuana out of the hands of kids,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “These large increases in past 30-day use, particularly in the last year among younger teens, should ring alarm bells. We need to seriously reconsider this risky experiment and lessen the pot industry’s grip on our children. The normalization of pot may allow marijuana CEOs to rake in profits, but it is also putting kids at risk.”
According to the data, part of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, since 2017, past month marijuana use among those aged 15 or younger has increased 14.8%, 16 or 17-year-olds has increased 3.0%, and 18 or older has increased 1.9%. Overall, marijuana use amongst all age groups has risen 6.2%.
Since legalization was implemented in Colorado in 2013, past month marijuana use among those aged 15 or younger has increased 0.6%, 16 or 17-year-olds has increased 8.4%, and 18 or older has increased 8.7%. Overall, marijuana use amongst all age groups since legalization has increased 4.6%.
There has also been a change in the way youth are using marijuana – a quintupling of youth “dabbing” high potency concentrates, and a doubling of youth vaping, since 2015.
“The so-called ‘regulation’ of marijuana has clearly failed to keep the drug out of the hands of young people in Colorado,” continued Dr. Sabet. "Given that Colorado’s marijuana regime allows flavored marijuana vapes such as 'cookies' brands, as well as other forms of candies and sweets and other kid-friendly forms of advertising, these increases are unsurprising, though they are devastating."
There is evidence in both patients with psychotic disorders and the general population that cannabis use is associated with adverse effects of psychopathology and cognition
Substance use comorbidity in schizophrenia has been described as “the rule rather than the exception.”1 The large Epidemiological Catchment Area study estimated that 47% of patients with schizophrenia also had a lifetime comorbid diagnosis of a substance use disorder.2 Substance use comorbidity is also often deleterious to the course of schizophrenia, including potential contributions to medication non-adherence and illness relapse.1 Cannabis (marijuana) is one of the most commonly used substances by patients with schizophrenia.
Cannabis use and risk of psychosis
Moore and colleagues9 … found that individuals who had used cannabis had a significant, 1.4-fold increased risk of any psychotic outcomes, independent of potential confounding and transient intoxication effects. Findings also provided evidence for a dose-response effect, with even greater, 2.1-fold risk in individuals who used cannabis most frequently.
More recently, Marconi and colleagues10 performed a meta-analysis of 10 studies, including 66,810 individuals, that investigated the association between the degree of cannabis consumption and risk of psychosis. In all individual studies, higher levels of cannabis use were associated with increased risk of psychosis. They also found evidence for a dose-response relationship, with a 2-fold increase in risk for the average cannabis user, and a 4-fold increase in risk for the heaviest users, compared with non-users.
A study recently released by the University of Washington finds that marijuana legalization and commercialization may have begun a reversal of previous downward trends in teen marijuana use. The study, which followed 230 teens and young adults, found that young people may be more likely to use marijuana after commercialization, due to normalization as a result of the over-saturation of stores, advertisements, and rapidly rising adult use of the drug.
“The findings of this study are the canary in the coal mine. These data, coupled with recent national survey data from the federal government, directly undercut Big Pot’s narrative that legalization has not resulted in a subsequent rise in youth use,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “We have long pointed out that valid and trustworthy benchmark surveys have shown increases in use among youth. Ask any school superintendent in Colorado and they’ll tell you they have been warning of this fact for years. Given the risks of serious mental health issues youth use can bring about, this is a concerning development.”
Notably, this study supports another study out of Washington that showed increases in marijuana use among 8th and 10th graders, using data from the benchmark survey, Monitoring the Future. The study also serves as an important check on claims made by the marijuana industry, which often cites faulty statistics backed by questionable data to allege that youth use has held steady.
“A teen usage rate that holds steady isn’t good enough if it would normally be going down,” said study author Jennifer Bailey in an interview with the University of Washington News. “We need to devote more attention to prevention of adolescent use in the context of legalization because we want to keep the decreases we’ve been seeing before legalization was implemented."
Some facts on youth use and potential harms:
The most reliable survey on the prevalence of drug use among U.S. households is the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). According to NSDUH data, in all jurisdictions with legalized recreational marijuana (Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, though only personal use and growing is legal there, and Washington), past-month drug use among youth aged 12- 17 continues to sit above the national average (NSDUH, 2016-2017).
Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been legal since 2012, has the highest rate of first-time marijuana use among youth (ages 12-17) and young adults (ages 18-25) (NSDUH State Estimates, 2016-2017). Colorado currently holds the top ranking for first-time marijuana use among youth, representing a 65% increase in the years since legalization.
Past month marijuana use among 12 to 17 year-olds increased 4% in Colorado from 2016-2017 to 2017- 2018. In non-legal states, past year and past month use rates are significantly lower than in the state of Colorado (NSDUH State Comparisons, 2019).
In Colorado, only 15.9% of young people aged 12 to 17 years old perceive a great risk from using marijuana once a month, compared to a national rate of 23.6% (NSDUH State Comparisons, 2019).
Marijuana, which can cause depression and suicidal thoughts — particularly in young users, was found in the toxicology screens of 200 suicide victims in the state in 2017, up from 83 in 2012 (Colorado Violent Death Reporting System, 2019). In 2013, marijuana was present in 10.6% of suicide toxicology reports for young people aged 15 to 19 years; in 2017, marijuana was present in over 30%* of suicide toxicology reports for young victims between the ages of 15 and 19 years (CDPHE, 2019).