Beware of cannabis during pregnancy

Jean Benoit Legault, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Exposure to THC or CBD during pregnancy could put children at greater risk of obesity or hyperglycemia, a new American study warns.

“We must take this article as a building block for the construction of the House of Knowledge, but above all not as a foundation, otherwise the house would become a bit shaky,” reacted immediately, however, doctor Richard Bélanger of the CHU de Québec Research Center.

Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health analyzed the urine of around 100 pregnant women for cannabis metabolites. They found trace amounts of THC and CBD in the urine of 15% of them. These measurements were taken in the middle of pregnancy, at a time when women couldn’t help but notice that they were pregnant.

Researchers report in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that women who used cannabis during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to a low-birth-weight baby. By age five, these children were “moderately” fatter and heavier than children not exposed to marijuana. They also had higher blood sugar.

However, notes Dr. Bélanger, the researchers initially recruited about 1,400 mother-child pairs, and they don’t really explain why their conclusions ultimately base on only about 100 women. He also points out that nothing is known about factors like diet and physical activity that might affect children’s weight and blood sugar levels.

“There were several steps that don’t exist in our ladder, so we can certainly climb them,” he said.

On the other hand, he welcomes the researchers’ use of a quantitative tool (the analysis of metabolites) rather than a subjective one (a questionnaire that would have been presented to the mothers) to examine the question. He also points out that such multi-year longitudinal studies are complex and expensive to carry out.


Anyway, Dr. Bélanger continued that the study has the merit of drawing attention to a topic that should be of interest and concern many parents.

“You shouldn’t think that young mothers or older mothers who take drugs, sometimes for their own reasons, sometimes for medical reasons, to try to alleviate or alleviate certain things, do it with joy of heart and then they do it knowing full well that it hurts her child, he said. We need these studies to inform them properly so they can make an informed choice.

Several studies, including some in Canada, have looked at the effects of cannabis use on the fetus in recent years.

A study like this highlights the need, even today, despite the legalization of cannabis, to deepen our understanding of the health effects of its consumption, Dr. Belanger.

“To this day, in 2022, although studies on cannabis and its effects on health began in the 60s, 70s, 80s, there are still huge fields that remain unexplored and then that it is not for the benefit of Canadian is families, he concluded.

“From there, there’s always an interest in telling things like that in the extreme, especially when you’ve legalized a product; we must continue to focus on the potential impact that these products (…) could have on children’s health.”

Leave a Comment