Cannabis Use And Breastfeeding- Is It Safe?

cannabis use while breastfeeding- is it safe?

Regardless of how marijuana/cannabis containing THC is consumed (smoking, vaping, or ingesting), its byproducts are present in breast milk. How this affects breastfed infants and the process of lactation is less clear. There are a lot of unknowns, but we do have enough information to indicate that it should be avoided under most circumstances.

Using THC while breastfeeding carries risks, and should be carefully weighed with your physician to help you make the decision on whether to breastfeed your baby. It is difficult to create uniform guidelines with regard to THC, since amounts, reasons, and types of use vary.

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) states “The casual use of drugs- legal, illegal, illicit, 

dose appropriate or not—still may have ramifications for the infant that we have yet to determine, and hence, in general, drugs of all types should be avoided unless medically necessary.

Some potential risks:

  • The amount of THC in breast milk is up to 8 times higher than in a mother’s blood. It can be found in infant urine and feces, indicating that THC is absorbed and metabolized by the baby.
  • THC is rapidly distributed to the brain, and is stored in infants’ fatty tissue for weeks to months. It stays positive in the urine for 2–3 weeks.
  • It is possible that THC can have long-term effects on infant behavior. Families should avoid directly exposing their infant to marijuana and its smoke. 
  • THC may affect the infant nervous system, particularly in motor development and brain maturation. 

If THC is in your bloodstream, it is in your milk in even higher quantities. Because there is insufficient long-term data on infant exposure via breast milk, professional guidelines recommend that THC use should be avoided. Therefore, if you screen positive upon admission to the hospital, breastfeeding will be discouraged, and a follow up drug screen may be recommended in order to clear you to breastfeed. 

If you are negative upon admission, you can nurse your baby, and it is recommended not to use THC for the duration of your breastfeeding period. 

We encourage you to talk with your doctor about your specific situation if you want to breastfeed while using THC. 

Please feel free to reach out with any breastfeeding questions. We’re here to help!

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