Let's Talk Cannabis

Key Facts


The levels of THC in a mother’s breast milk can be 8 times as high as the concentration in her blood.

The active ingredient in cannabis, THC, can be transferred to your baby through the placenta.

Regularly using in your teens can permanently harm memory, learning, and attention, affecting how the brain builds connections.

Parents, Mentors, or Guardians

Know the risks of underage cannabis use.

Underage use can affect their ability to learn.

Research shows that regular use of cannabis in teens and young adults in their early 20s may lead to physical changes in their brains. Regular use can permanently harm their memory, learning, and attention and affect how their brains build connections.

Accidentally consuming edibles is a big risk for children.

Kids who accidentally eat cannabis products may need to go to the emergency room for poisoning. You can prevent this by storing cannabis in a hidden, locked area and in child-resistant packaging.

Secondhand smoke from weed is no better than cigarettes.

The smoke from cannabis contains THC, which can affect anyone in close proximity who breathes the smoke in, giving them a contact high. It also contains many of the same toxins and chemicals found in tobacco smoke. Some of these include ammonia, hydrocyanic acid, and many of the components found in tar.

Using marijuana in front of your kids makes them more likely to experiment.

As a parent, you’re the No. 1 influence on underage substance use. Children who learn about the possible consequences of drug use from their parents are significantly less likely to use drugs.

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Talking to Your Kids About Cannabis

Like sex or alcohol, this topic can be awkward for both of you. Here are some tips to make the conversation less of a “talk” and more of an open, two-way discussion:

  • Start the conversation early and before kids consider experimenting (as young as 10 or when they first start asking questions)
  • Talk with them honestly and often about the risks of using cannabis
  • Have casual conversations, instead of formal family meetings or lectures
  • Listen carefully to their thoughts without judgement and encourage them to ask questions
  • Let your children know they can come to you if they’re in trouble

If you suspect your child is using, don’t panic.

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Pregnant and Breastfeeding Moms

How cannabis can affect your baby’s health and development

Using marijuana can stunt your baby’s growth and development.

That’s because the active ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is stored in body fat. As published in the journal for the American Academy of Pediatrics, fat is an important building block while your baby is growing during gestation.

Marijuana use can increase the risk of stillbirth.

No amount of marijuana in any form is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding moms, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Research has shown that pregnant women who use marijuana have a 2.3 times greater risk of stillbirth.

THC can contaminate breast milk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says mothers who are breastfeeding their babies shouldn’t use marijuana. Because THC is stored in fat and breast milk contains a lot of fat, any amount of THC in your system can enter your baby’s body through your milk. This can lead to health problems, and even harming their brain development.

“Pumping and dumping” does not work.

Because THC is slowly released in the body over several weeks, it takes longer to leave your body than alcohol in your bloodstream. According to a paper published in Canadian Family Physician, the concentration of THC stored in your milk fat can be up to 8 times stronger than what’s in your blood.

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