Cannabis and Parenting




Parenthood is a huge job. Our children need us (or another responsible caregiver) 24 hours per day, seven days per week.  This can be challenging for any parent and may involve making changes to our lifestyles. Babies change our lives a lot and choices need to be made so that baby and the whole family are happy and healthy.  

People use cannabis for a variety of reasons and you may decide to use cannabis while you are caring for your children. If so, here are few things to consider.

Using cannabis may affect your ability to take care of your baby or child:

Cannabis use may reduce your ability to pay attention, make important decisions or react to emergencies. This can affect how you respond to your children's cues for hunger, their need to be comforted, and their desire to play and learn.  Cannabis also affects your ability to respond quickly when your child is doing something that may be risky or dangerous.

 Some types of cannabis can make you feel very sleepy or make you sleep more deeply than you usually would, which may cause you to miss your child's cues.

 Second-hand smoke from cannabis can cause some of the same health problems for your child as second-hand smoke from cigarettes, so it's best to avoid smoking cannabis indoors or near your children.

 Cannabis impacts your ability to drive a car so it's important to wait at least 3-4 hours before getting behind the wheel.

If you use cannabis while you are caring for your children, having another adult there with you who is not using cannabis will help keep your child safe.


Kids and Cannabis

Avoid using cannabis in front of children. Children like to mimic their parents. When they see you do something, they want to do it too.

Cannabis can harm your child's health, so keeping cannabis products away from your child is important. Cannabis products like cookies, gummy bears, brownies, lollipops and shakes can look like candy or a treat to a child.

If you think your child accidentally ate or drank cannabis, seek medical help right away. You may need to call 9-1-1. Your child may have problems walking or sitting up and may get very sleepy or act confused. The signs and symptoms can vary. Watch for anxiety, sleepiness, difficulty breathing, drowsiness, a lack of co-ordination or slurred speech. It takes time for your child's body to digest cannabis so it may be a few hours before you notice any effects.



Be sure to store cannabis safely. Ideally, store cannabis products in child-resistant packaging and in a locked area. Make sure your child cannot see or reach the locked area. Remember that children are excellent climbers so putting cannabis up high on a shelf does not necessarily mean it's safe or out of reach! Little ones may see it as a fun challenge so it is important to make sure they cannot get to it.



Co-sleeping with your baby or infant while using cannabis is unsafe and should be avoided because you may be less alert due to the effects of cannabis. For example, a parent may be more likely to roll onto their baby and not wake up when they are under the influence of cannabis (as well as alcohol or other drugs).




For parenting resources visit our maternal and child health page here.