Medical Marijuana Use While Breastfeeding: Effects, Risks And What Moms Have To Know

By Rachel Cruise, Parent Herald May 23, 04:51 am

Health experts always recommend that new mothers breastfeed their baby. Countless of medical studies support how breastmilk provides the newborn with stronger immune systems as they grow and develop.  However, for a mother who breastfeeds and takes marijuana either for pleasure or as a medical treatment, there are some expected risks and adverse effects. Here's what moms have to know if they are breastfeeding and considering marijuana use.

Moms who breastfeed have to be aware that anything they eat or drink can go to their breastmilk in "small concentrations," said InfantRisk founder Thomas Hale, per ATTN. There have been cases of drug-dependent mothers whose babies grow up to become dependent on drugs as well because this has been in their system since infancy.

However, Hale admits that there are not enough studies to determine just how much of a small concentration of marijuana really affects the baby, particularly when used medically. To be on the safe side, Hale suggests that mothers should refrain from using marijuana altogether while breastfeeding for the simple fact that babies' brains are still developing in infancy and narcotics could potentially disrupt and damage this.  The law might not also be on the mom's side if they are caught in a legal battle.

Such is the case of Carrie Templeton, who was taking medical marijuana to ease her back pain. While pregnant, she had an accident on the stairs and was prescribed opioids as painkillers. But she replaced this with medical marijuana when she started breastfeeding to mitigate the risks of opioid addiction in her child. Child Protective Services arrived at her house in February based on an anonymous tip that she had been pot-smoking, per Boulder Weekly.

During the court hearing for Carrie Templeton's case, she felt that she had been treated like an addict despite her declaration that she uses marijuana medically. The court ordered her to stop using the substance since it contains tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, a mind-altering chemical in cannabis.

Unfortunately for Templeton, there are only three studies about THC and breastfeeding and these are not even sufficient studies, according to consumer and reproductive health advocate Helen Thompson in the Boulder Weekly report. She is helping on Carrie Templeton's case and is concerned that the law has "wrongly punished" a mother's rights.

What are your opinions on this topic? Should mothers who use medical marijuana turn to formula feeding instead? Share your thoughts in the comments!

See Now: 35 Things New Moms Should Know About Breastfeeding

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