Cannabis and Nursing Moms: What’s the Deal?

Cannabis and Nursing Moms: What's the Deal?

Yo, what’s good? If you’re a new mom and also into cannabis, you might be wondering if you can smoke weed while breastfeeding. It’s a tough question to answer straight up, but we’ll break it down for you as best we can.

First off, there ain’t a lot of research out there about how pot affects breastfeeding. But from what we know, experts agree that smoking weed while pregnant or breastfeeding ain’t a good look—just like with alcohol or nicotine. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the risks are “unknown.” And since THC—the main cannabinoid in weed—is fat-soluble, it can easily pass to your baby through breast milk. THC can even stay in breast milk for up to six days—that’s way longer than alcohol.

So, bottom line: it’s recommended that you avoid all kinds of cannabis products while breastfeeding. You don’t wanna risk passing on anything harmful to your baby.

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Now let’s talk about edibles. When you eat weed instead of smoking or vaping it, the THC gets metabolized by your liver into a chemical called 11-hydroxy-THC. This chemical is thought to be up to four times stronger than regular THC. That explains why edibles can really knock you on your ass. But here’s the thing: any cannabinoids that pass to your baby from breast milk after eating edibles could be way stronger than if you smoked weed. That’s why it’s even more important that you don’t mess with edibles while breastfeeding.

But here’s where things get interesting: your own breast milk already contains something called endocannabinoids. These are cannabinoids produced by your own body that interact with the same receptors as weed does. Scientists have discovered that human breast milk contains endocannabinoids like 2-AG and AEA, which are chemical messengers that help with all kinds of things like growth and development.

The problem is, when you consume THC, it can affect the endocannabinoids in your breast milk. Some studies have suggested that smoking weed can slow down breast milk production. Other studies have shown that babies exposed to THC via breast milk could have poorer motor skills and be more tired than babies who weren’t exposed.

One study found that between 1 and 2.5% of the THC in a joint ends up in breast milk and is passed onto the baby. THC binds to protein receptors in the brain which are vital for brain development, so neonatal exposure to THC could alter brain development in small ways.

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So, yeah—there’s still a lot of uncertainty around weed and breastfeeding. But one thing we do know is that secondhand smoke or vapor from weed could be just as harmful as secondhand cigarette smoke. A small study found that 16% of children hospitalized for bronchiolitis had traces of THC in their urine after being exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke.

Long story short: if you’re a new mom, it’s probably best to steer clear of weed until after you’re done breastfeeding. If you really need some relief from postpartum depression, chronic pain, anxiety or other issues, talk to your doctor about alternatives like CBD—they might be able to recommend safe supplements or dietary options for you.

And even if you’re not breastfeeding anymore, don’t smoke or vape around young children—there’s still a lot we don’t know about how cannabis affects developing newborns and kids. Stay safe out there!

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