Introduction: With the recent legalization of cannabis in Canada, there are more than 400 licenced dispensaries nationwide. It is important to understand information that women of reproductive age are obtaining. Women may use cannabis products during pregnancy for various reasons, including nausea and vomiting. Our objective was to explore recommendations that licensed Canadian dispensary employees give to pregnant women.
Methods: This was a nationwide cross-sectional study of licensed cannabis dispensaries. We used a mystery caller approach, which is permitted under Canadian law. The caller stated they were 8 weeks pregnant, experiencing nausea and vomiting and asked for recommendations about cannabis products. Further scripted questions were used to explore specific information regarding fetal risk, and whether employees recommended speaking to a health care provider.
Results: There were a total of 457 dispensaries licensed for recreational use in Canada, as of October 17, 2019. Only 439 dispensaries were available for contact. The majority (93%) recommended against cannabis products during pregnancy. Recommendations were similar within each province. The majority of dispensaries (80%) recommended discussion with a health care provider or pharmacist.
Conclusion: The majority of licensed Canadian dispensary employees recommended against the use of cannabis products for use in early pregnancy, and most suggested asking a healthcare provider for more information without prompting. This data differs significantly from the original study in Colorado, wherein nearly 70% of dispensaries recommended a cannabis product in pregnancy. This information is encouraging for health care providers taking care of pregnant women in Canada.
Alison Shea– Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, McMaster University
Sophie Vincent– Resident, Obstetrics and Gynecology, McMaster University
Torri Metz– Associate Professor, Maternal-Fetal Medicine subspecialist, Director of Perinatal Research, Farmington Health Center