Mothers or nursing women who are breastfeeding infants should avoid the use of cannabis at all cost. This can put the health of the mother as well as the infant at considerable risk. This was proven in a recent study that was conducted. The findings suggest the mothers think twice before resorting towards smoking cannabis.
The popularity of marijuana has seen a sharp rise in recent times. With a number of states legalizing the usage, more and more people are buying cannabis-related products.
Initially, the “smoke-up” culture was more of a youth or a hippy thing. However, now the practice has found its way inside every other age group. Even to the extent, smoking marijuana during pregnancy has become a common thing to do. What the mothers don’t realize are the health consequences on the infant of doing so.
Cannabis Effects on Breastfeeding
Smoking cannabis transfers some THC into breast milk. A pilot study was conducted at Texas Tech University. It was revealed that breastfeeding moms who smoke cannabis transfer an estimated 2.5% of the inhaled dose of THC to their infants.
Researchers also evaluated 8 self-described “occasional smokers” who were also actively breastfeeding their infants. The participants had to first undergo some observational test that would help in concluding the overall investigation. They were asked to discontinue their cannabis use for a minimum of 24 hours. This was done to obtain a baseline breast milk sample.
Participants were then asked to smoke 0.1g of a standardized strain that had been pre-weighed and analyzed at 23.18% THC. Breast milk samples were then collected from the mothers first at the 20-minute interval. It was followed by a collection at the 1, 2 and 4-hour marked intervals after ingestion by the baby.
After analyzing the samples, researchers found low levels of THC in breast milk.
But while only micrograms of the THC were detected, scientists feel the obtained amount is still a matter of concern.
The study states the following. “The long term neurobehavioral effect of exposure to Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on the developing brain is unclear. Mothers should thereby be cautious using cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding.”
More research still needs to be done. On the other hand, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also advise the mother to discontinue cannabis smoking. They should avoid any usage If they are breastfeeding, pregnant or trying to conceive.
Points to Remember
You probably have heard before that smoking tobacco is harmful to the mother and her newborn child. It can impede child growth and in severe cases can also lead to miscarriages.
While generally speaking, cannabis is considered safer than tobacco yet breastfeeding mothers should still avoid its usage. The THC content can seep its way into the breast milk entering directly into the baby’s body.
It is important to note that excessive amount of THC is linked with psycho-active behaviour. With the infant ingesting in THC, it could affect his/her early year development.
The research is ongoing and it wouldn’t be long until we expect a more comprehensive conclusion. Yet suffice to say, it is better for breastfeeding mothers to stay away from cannabis.