Small Amount of Pot Winds Up in Breast Milk but its Effects on Babies Unclear

About 2.5 percent of the amount the mother smoked was found in the breast milk. (Image via Getty)

Breast milk of mothers, who smoke marijuana, can have some traces of THC – the psychoactive component in cannabis, a recently published U.S. study revealed.

Published on April 9 in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, the study said the exact consequences of the small traces of marijuana – about 2.5 percent of the amount the mother smoked – that makes it to a baby aren’t yet clear, Medical Express reported. 

“This study is just a start to see if marijuana transferred into breast milk. Levels in milk were quite low,” said senior study author Thomas Hale, director of the Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Amarillo.

Study co-author Dr. Teresa Baker, co-director of the Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech, urged women not to smoke while breastfeeding. 

Baker said:

“We do not recommend the use of marijuana. There’s concern for the developing brain exposed to THC.”

Researchers, meanwhile, are not sure if THC levels in breast milk would rise if a woman smokes more.

Eight Anonymous Participants

Eight women from Denver, Colorado participated in the research. Colorado was one of the early U.S. states that fully legalized marijuana in 2012.

The women’s use of marijuana varied from extremely infrequent to a woman, who smoked up to seven to 10 times during in a week. They were between two and five months after delivery, and all were exclusively breastfeeding their babies.

The study was done completely in an anonymous fashion. However, the women were instructed to buy from a specific store and purchase a similar strain to keep their THC intake at least uniform for more accurate measurement. 

“Most things do get into breast milk, and we need to understand this more because we don’t know if there’s a safe exposure level for babies. But it’s probably better not to be exposed,” Dr. Ronald Marino, chief of the division of general pediatrics at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., reviewed the findings.

He added:

“Your baby’s brain is developing so much in the first year of life, you want to give them every chance to have a high function. Try to stay as pure as you can when breastfeeding—[avoiding] marijuana, alcohol or even herbal remedies.” 

Click HERE to read more about the study.

 

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