As the use of medical marijuana becomes increasingly mainstream and accepted in society, more and more people are turning to it as a natural treatment option for various conditions and ailments.
However, for breastfeeding mothers in California, the question of whether or not it is safe to use medical marijuana while nursing their babies is a common and valid concern.
The usage of Medical marijuana in California is legal. Hence to be eligible for medical marijuana use in California or any other state in the US, you have to go for medical marijuana evaluations.
Is it Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers to Take Medical Marijuana?
There is not enough data to show if it is completely safe or not to take medical marijuana while breastfeeding.
It is generally not recommended for breastfeeding mothers to use marijuana, including medical marijuana, as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component of marijuana, can be passed from the mother to the baby through breast milk.
THC can also affect the quality and quantity of breast milk produced.
If you are a breastfeeding mother and are considering using medical marijuana, it is important to speak with your medical marijuana doctors about the potential risks and benefits, as well as any potential alternatives that may be available. It is important for breastfeeding mothers to prioritize the health and well-being of their babies.
Risks of Cannabis Use to Breastfeeding Women
There is limited research on the risks of cannabis use in breastfeeding women and its effects on breastfed infants. However, the main concern is that THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, can pass through breast milk to the infant.
THC can also accumulate in the fatty tissue of the breast milk and be released over time, which means that the infant could be exposed to the compound for a prolonged period.
There is some evidence to suggest that THC exposure through breast milk may impair the infant’s cognitive and motor development.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2019 found that infants who were exposed to THC through breast milk had lower scores on mental and motor development assessments at one year of age compared to infants who were not exposed.
It is also important to note that cannabis use can impair a breastfeeding woman’s judgment and reaction time, which could increase the risk of accidents or injuries while caring for an infant.
In addition, smoking cannabis can expose both the breastfeeding woman and the infant to the harmful chemicals found in the smoke from marijuana.
Several other risks associated with medical marijuana use in breastfeeding women in California, or any other location include:
Legal Risks: Medical Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and its use is only legal in certain states, including California, with certain restrictions. Breastfeeding women who use marijuana may be at risk of criminal prosecution for possession, and may also face social stigma and discrimination.
Addiction Risk: Marijuana use can lead to the development of dependence and addiction, and breastfeeding women may be at an increased risk of developing these issues due to the effect of the drug on the developing brain of the infant.
Interactions With Medications: Marijuana can interact with certain medications and may cause them to be less effective or to have increased side effects. Breastfeeding women who use marijuana need to be cautious about it because of other medications that the woman takes while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding mothers should learn the risks of Marijuana use during breastfeeding and consider them when making decisions about medical marijuana use.
The recommendation is that breastfeeding mothers should abstain from marijuana use, or imbibe a cautious use if at all they want to use marijuana. If a breastfeeding woman does choose to use medical marijuana, it is important to be open and honest with their healthcare provider about their use.
How Does Medical Marijuana While Breastfeeding Affect Infant Brain Development
There is some evidence to suggest that marijuana use during breastfeeding may be harmful to the developing brain of a nursing infant.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, can be transmitted to infants through breast milk, and it has been shown to have negative effects on brain development in animals.
However, the research on this topic in humans is limited, but there is some evidence that marijuana use during breastfeeding affects brain development.
This brain development derailment is visible through cognitive and behavioral problems, resulting from marijuana use during breastfeeding.
What is The Safest Choice for Breastfeeding Mothers in California Regarding Medical Marijuana Use
It is generally recommended that breastfeeding mothers avoid using marijuana in any form, including smoking, vaporizing, or consuming edibles, due to the potential risks to the infant.
If a breastfeeding mother is using medical marijuana, it is important to use it under the supervision of a healthcare provider and to take steps to minimize the infant’s exposure to the drug, such as avoiding breastfeeding for several hours after using the drug.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding mothers abstain from using marijuana and other substances that may be harmful to their infants.
If you are a breastfeeding mother and use marijuana for medicinal purposes, it is important to discuss this with your medical marijuana doctor or any other healthcare provider. The care providers will weigh the potential risks and benefits of medical marijuana usage.
In conclusion, having awareness of the potential risks and benefits of the use of medical marijuana while breastfeeding is important for you as a mother in California.
While some studies have suggested that small amounts of THC may pass into breast milk, the long-term effects of this exposure on infants are not yet fully understood.
However, medical marijuana has been shown to have potential therapeutic benefits for conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy, which may be conditions that a breastfeeding mother is struggling with.
Ultimately, the decision to use medical marijuana while breastfeeding should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable about both the risks and benefits.