Marijuana, Breastfeeding, and Lots of Blah Blah Blah From Medical “Experts”
After reading loads of ridiculous non scientific blah blah blah on the internet about marijuana use in breastfeeding mothers, I feel compelled to begin this post by introducing myself. I am not a scientist. I have not conducted any long term double blind studies. One skill that an undergraduate degree in science has afforded me is the ability to see through the science jargon smoke screen.
My singular conclusion from a review of the literature is this – we just don’t know yet what/if a breastfeeding marijuana using mama will bequeath to her offspring in terms of developmental damage.
Fact: THC is stored in fat. It builds up in fat stores in the mother which are used to produce breast milk. The THC does transfer from mother to baby and can be found in urine and feces of the breastfeeding baby. In monkeys given *large* quantities of THC 5 times a week, .2% was found in their breast milk.
Pseudo medical bloggers love to note this fact as proof that mothers who chose to puff while nursing are with certainty causing harm to their babies. Because marijuana is a drug of course. However, it has not been found that these levels of THC have any impact on the child. It has not been found that trace levels of THC in breast milk are finding a home in the highly underdeveloped endocannabinoid system in the babies brain. It has not been found that THC causes damage of any kind, even if it is present. And, no one mentioned how THC compares to other, highly endorsed, fat soluble medicines (or non medical molecules i.e. legal pesticides) in terms of maternal use and baby development. In short, the knowledge that a small percentage THC does transfer from mother to baby does not necessarily mean that it causes harm to baby. Furthermore, majority of the studies that have been conducted have not shown any delay in babies whose mothers habitually used marijuana while breastfeeding.
Myth: Babies of mothers who use marijuana have an increased rate of SIDS.
Mothers who *smoke* marijuana are raising the risk that their babies die from SIDS. Using marijuana in other forms, edible, vapor and so on have zero link with an increased risk of SIDS. The risk of SIDS is increased when either parent smokes anything. Even if the parent does not smoke in the child’s presence, harmful carcinogens leach from the parents clothing.
Unfounded Hypothesis: “There is also some concern that smoking marijuana can lower women’s levels of prolactin, the hormone needed for breast-milk production, Lasley said.”
After reading this completely ridiculous claim I looked into it and, as a matter of fact, all current evidence points to the opposite phenomenon of breast milk over production for marijuana using moms.
No one is fact checking the internet, people, any one can say whatever they want to say. Read critically. Beware of pseudo science. Always question unsubstantiated claims. Know the general attitude of the author and look for bias. At this point there is insufficient evidence to support the claim that marijuana should not be used by breastfeeding mothers. Everyone must do their own risk benefit analysis and proceed with caution and care. And finally, it would be wise for cannabis loving breast feeders to consume their marijuana via food or vapor and avoid exposing their babies to smoke, even if indirectly. Happy researching
by Suzanna Mountain