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Cannabis consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Published : 05/04/2024

Last updated: 14/07/2024

As a remedy to nausea, morning sickness, and a lack of appetite, pregnant mothers are willing to try a lot of things, Or it could be that the baby is here and you are only breastfeeding so you might be thinking to add some ‘no-no’ things that could reduce your stress or deal with anxiety.


Marijuana or CBD oil is a popular choice nowadays, and many consider these as a fun and euphoric solution, especially since these are legal in a lot of places now -But what do experts really say about the consumption of these substances by new mothers? Here are all the answers

How safe is it to consume these substances?

Pregnancy might have you on the edge, with upset stomach, nausea, and struggles with pre-baby jitters (anxiety or worry). So you might think that using Marijuana/CBD oil can help ease these symptoms, probably because it has helped you before pregnancy -well according to experts it is not safe at all to use these substances as a remedy, and should be completely off-limits during pregnancy.


For breast feeding mothers on the other hand, you might be thinking that it is perhaps alright to light a joint, just to relax a bit in the midst of this overwhelming journey – well breastfeeding might let loose a couple things in comparison to pregnancy, the bad news is, marijuana/CBD oil is still a big ‘NO’!

Why is marijuana unsafe?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active ingredient in marijuana, and effects heartrate to brain function, moreover it dissolves in fat cells of the body staying in the fat deposit for sometime.


Upon consumption by pregnant mothers the THC can cross the placenta and enter the bloodstream of the fetus, therefore the drug is essentially shared with the baby. It is unethical to ask pregnant mothers to consume marijuana for research, so experts don’t have exact answers as to extent of affects that it has on pregnant mothers. But researchers did find that it has serious implications on the growth and development of the baby.


For breastfeeding mothers it is not safe because it circulates through the bloodstream and researchers say that almost 1 percent of it ends up in your breast milk. This is due to the fact that breastmilk contains a lot of fats (which helps the baby grow quickly. Therefore, THC that ends up in the breast milk can also stay there for 6days – this is then passed onto the baby during breast feeding (can be checked from baby’s urine).


Additionally, it was observed in animal studies that marijuana can slow down production of milk. Hence if you are finding it difficult to meet supply requirement of your baby’s feeding demand, this should seldom be a reason why marijuana should be avoided. 

Risks due to CBD oil

CBD (Cannabidiol) is extracted from cannabis plant and diluted in edible oil. Unlike THC, CBD is more commonly used for medicinal purposes (treatment of insomnia, pain, anxiety, depression or nausea) and doesn’t necessarily give a buzz, but has calming effects.


Extensive research is still unavailable for CBD oil, as its legalization has produced a surge of new products in markets, and it will probably take some time to come up with proper answers. However it is keen to note that FDA has not approved or regulated any of it in terms of dosage, formulation or method of delivery.


Despite of being labelled as ‘pure’ CBD oil, it is a new and unregulated market, and there have been reports of these being contaminated with the presence of THC, pesticides, toxic metals and bacteria. 


Therefore it is strongly suggested by the FDA and ACOG(American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(ACOG) that these substances should not be consumed by pregnant mothers, as study shows that these can seriously affect the baby in the womb, or by breastfeeding mothers, as it is passed through breastmilk and can cause impaired judgement while taking care of child.

Effects of marijuana on fetus' and toddlers

Consumption of Marijuana during pregnancy can cause serious issues because it can stay in the system for a good amount of time, therfore the fetus’ exposure to the drug is actually longer than expected. 


Research has found that baby’s born to mothers who smoked pot, daily/weekly during pregnancy, are more likely to be born premature, or be underweight during birth, likely to have a smaller head during birth and has a higher chance of ending up in the NICU. There is also a probability of still birth.


Marijuana can hamper baby’s oxygen intake as it can alter fetal heartrate.A number of studies have confirmed that there is a high risk that it can affect the baby’s brain. A research found that amygdala (part of the brain that controls emotion) showed abnormal function in male fetuses born to marijuana smokers. 


For breastfeeding mothers, studies observed that toddlers and children exposed to THC through breastmilk, were more easily fatigued, score less in cognitive, memory or behavioral tests. And are prone to have impulse control issues, hyperactivity, inattention and autism spectrum disorder.

A gentle nudge from mammas journey

There are other better and more natural and medicinal ways to treat your morning sickness, lack of appetite, anxiety and all other mamma issues -approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration).


All studies, researches and experts come to the conclusion that it is safest to ignore marijuana and all its substitute products for the greater good of your tiny human, since its known to create very different complications, such as starting from making it difficult for you to conceive, to risk of early labor, to effecting you children in utero and later in life.


So, don’t forget your doctor appointments, be honest to your doctor and ask for help. 

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