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Marijuana and Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is an important process for any child. It forms a significant maternal connection between child and mother. Breast milk also contains important nutrients that facilitate the growth of the child. With many states legalizing cannabis, more pregnant women are using cannabis, but is cannabis safe while breastfeeding?

In this article, we are going to show the link between marijuana and breastfeeding to better understand if it’s safe or not.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is a complex plant containing hundreds of cannabinoids. These cannabinoids all interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system contains a group of receptors that work to control metabolism, immune function, memory, and many more biological functions.

The interaction between marijuana and the endocannabinoid system can treat many conditions such as pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma. Women who use medical marijuana for these conditions may be willing to use it while breastfeeding.

While medical marijuana may work well during pre-pregnancy, it may not work well during or after pregnancy. Scientists don’t support the use of cannabis while breastfeeding.

Some moms use cannabis while breastfeeding due to a pre-existing condition.

Marijuana in breast milk

Marijuana has several metabolites including cannabinol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC produces psychoactive effects which give users the “high”. When a breastfeeding child ingests THC, it goes into her breast milk through her blood. THC is also easily transferable to different parts of the body due to its low molecular weight and high fat solubility. THC also goes in fatty tissues, including the brain.

The Risks of Cannabis and Breastfeeding

The main thing people fear breastfeeding while using cannabis is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and its metabolites. Compounds such as THC flow through the bloodstream and are stored in body fat. Since breast milk has high amounts of saturated and unsaturated fat, THC can flow right into it.

According to studies, cannabis while breastfeeding can cause the following effects.

Lower in milk production: Some studies note that THC prevents prolactin production. Prolactin is a primary hormone for nursing mothers as it helps the glands generate milk. Cannabis can make parents breastfeed their children for shorter periods.

Loss of weight: Cannabis may reduce the child’s weight and physical development.

This is because THC makes newborns sleepy and fatigued, preventing them from suckling milk. 

Slow development: The child undergoes brain development during the first few months after birth. Some studies note that THC exposure may prompt long-term neurodevelopmental effects on the child.

Bottom line

Breast milk brings joy to a child, it fills the child with essential nutrients. Studies on prenatal exposure to THC, are still in the early stages. This means we cannot conclude whether THC affects breastfeeding.

Regardless, you must know about marijuana and breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding moms with an existing condition only be manageable with medical marijuana should visit a healthcare provider. They will provide guides and discuss possible alternatives that may be safer.

As of now, Breastfeeding women should avoid marijuana. But if you decide to use cannabis then be extremely cautious.