Breastfeeding and Cannabis

Legal use of cannabis doesn’t necessarily make it safe. Using cannabis can have effects on health, learning, relationships, fertility, pregnancy and children.

There are different types of cannabis and the effects depend on the amount of:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
  • Cannabidiol (CBD),
  • other chemicals, and
  • their interactions.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical that makes people feel high. Cannabidiol (CBD) is known for its medicinal qualities in relieving pain, inflammation and anxiety. In contrast to THC, CBD does not make you feel as high. The medicinal effects of some strains are being studied, especially those with higher amounts of CBD. The THC content in cannabis has increased over the past several decades. Oils have the highest percentage of THC. For example, the THC content in edible cannabis products can vary widely, and can be potent. There are more than 700 chemical compounds contained in the cannabis plant.

There is no known safe amount of cannabis use in pregnancy and when breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding

When a breastfeeding mother uses cannabis, THC passes into the breast milk and is taken into a baby’s fat cells and brain. It can be stored for weeks.

Some research found that infants exposed to THC through breast milk had slower motor development (affects baby’s movements and responses). More studies are required to determine the true effect of cannabis exposure when breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is still the healthiest choice for your baby. Until further information about the potential harms is available, it is recommended that women stop using cannabis while they are pregnant, or while breastfeeding. Caution is advised.

Parenting

Being ‘high’ while parenting is dangerous and not recommended, as cues for hunger, comfort, play and learning may be missed or misinterpreted. Being attentive to your child is essential in their development. Cannabis use results in a slowed reaction time and may reduce your ability to care for your child.

Second-hand cannabis smoke contains many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke and can result in the illness of infants and young children and can impact their alertness, judgment and understanding. It is recommended to not smoke or vaporize cannabis in your home or around your children.

Edible cannabis, if accidentally ingested, can make a child very sick. Therefore it is essential to store any cannabis products in a safe and secure (locked) location.

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