Doctors strongly advise mothers to breastfeed their children at least for first 6 month. Breast milk is perfectly balanced for the needs of the baby. Milk contains the nutrients necessary for growth and a strong immune system.
Many moms who used cannabis before giving birth wonder about smoking weed while breastfeeding. Cannabis use is 100% unsafe while breastfeeding. Smoking weed or cannabis should remain on the no-do list.
Check out the facts you need to know about smoking weed while breastfeeding.
Is it Safe to Smoke Weed While Breastfeeding
No, you can’t smoke weed while breastfeeding. When you smoke cannabis (marijuana), its active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) passes into your breast milk. Breast milk contains a lot of fat which helps the baby to grow faster. THC dissolves and stays for a while where fat cells are present.
THC from weed is concentrated in breast milk. THC levels in breast milk peak an hour after smoking.
“Tetrahydrocannabinol remains in breast milk for up to six days and is passed to the baby while breastfeeding.”
You can’t just “pump and dump” milk after smoking so as not to expose your baby to THC. Cannabis and its by-products are fat-soluble and lipophilic. The percentage of body fat in women is 25-30%. This is a large cannabis storage tank.
Marijuana use reduces the production of mother’s milk. Smoking weed makes it harder for exclusive breastfeeders. The THC in marijuana suppresses the production of prolactin, a milk-producing hormone. Those who use drugs daily experience a long washout period. THC and its metabolites can be found in blood, urine, and breast milk once the psychoactive effects have subsided.
It’s not just THC that breastfeeding moms need to worry about. There are other contaminants in weed that are harmful to mom and baby. These include heavy metals, bacteria, and pesticides. Marijuana smoking impairs a parent’s ability to care for a child.
The danger of Smoking Weed While Breastfeeding
People use cannabis to maintain their mental health and treat many diseases. While smoking weed may provide personal benefits, it is harmful to the baby while breastfeeding. Tetrahydrocannabinol may cause potential cognitive problems in infants.
Risks of smoking weed while breastfeeding:
1. Cognitive problems in infants
Babies are especially vulnerable to the effects of cannabis. Weed can cause long-term neurofunctional changes during critical periods of brain development.
In infants who received a large amount of weed with breast milk, muscle tone decreases. Babies exposed to marijuana through breast milk tire more quickly and are less likely to breastfeed than their peers.
THC can cause changes in certain hormones: growth hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone. Cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
2. Effects on the brain and nervous system
The effects of weed use while breastfeeding can extend beyond the neonatal period. Marijuana has a direct effect on the brain and nervous system. The baby’s brain grows rapidly in the first year of life, and marijuana can slow down this process.
The active ingredient in cannabis prevents the formation of connections between nerve cells in the cerebral cortex. These are the parts of the brain responsible for higher thinking abilities and the formation of memories.
Early exposure to THC in the brain may affect the development of the cerebellum. Abnormal development of the cerebellum is associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.
3. Mental functioning
Brain functions can be damaged by early exposure to cannabis. The flexibility of thinking, the ability to concentrate for long periods, and the ability to retain information are affected.
Marijuana use has long-term effects. Children exposed to THC in breast milk have low scores on motor development tests. The child significantly lags behind peers in evaluating movements and reactions to the environment.
4. The slowdown of motor and emotional development
Early exposure to THC causes lasting changes in children’s emotional reactivity. The child’s body and psyche are unstable and unprotected and very susceptible to environmental influences.
Exposure to marijuana through breast milk reduces motor development. The research was carried out three decades ago. Then marijuana was about 300 percent weaker than it is today. The effectiveness of cannabis has greatly increased and the negative impact on breastfed children has increased accordingly.
5. Respiratory system diseases
Smoking weed while breastfeeding puts your baby at risk of secondhand smoke. Passive smoking also affects children in the long term. It increases the risk of developing asthma, ear infections, and bronchitis.
6. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Marijuana use while breastfeeding can lead to the potential development of ADHD. Cannabis activates the brain’s reward system and releases dopamine at higher levels. The frontal lobes are more vulnerable to the effects of cannabis on neural connections. These disorders cause the development of ADHD and may be irreversible.
7. Slow weight gain
Cannabis keeps a child from gaining weight. Slow weight gain poses a serious risk in low birth weight and preterm infants.
What do Doctors say About Smoke Weed During Pregnancy?
There are many reasons why you might smoke weed, but it’s not safe for babies and mothers, doctors explain.
Health organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics, oppose smoking. The use of weed during pregnancy poses a threat to the health of the child. The chemicals in the herb are passed on to the baby. This applies to both smoking and ingestion.
The harm caused by cannabis to a child:
– Cannabis’ high-inducing ingredient THC affects the baby in the womb. It passes through the placenta, the organ that provides the baby with oxygen and nutrients.
– Weed during pregnancy puts the baby at an increased risk of being born prematurely or too small. Babies are 6% more likely to be born premature and 13% more likely to be born with low birth weight. Newborns weighing less than 2500 g are at greater risk of certain infections and SIDS.
– Infants are at high risk of stillbirth and are 35% more likely to die within the first year of life.
– Mothers who use marijuana are more likely to have babies in the intensive care unit. Reducing the availability of oxygen and nutrients limits proper organogenesis – the development of the fetal nervous system.
– THC acts as an indirect stressor, causing distress and physiological effects later in life.
– Marijuana use can make a child more vulnerable to dangerous and deadly viruses. Cannabidiols increase the permeability of the placenta and allow viruses to enter the baby’s bloodstream.
The Association of Cannabis Professionals agrees that pregnant women should avoid smoking weed. Refrain from cannabis so that the child grows up healthy.
Most Common Reasons Breastfeeding Mothers Smoke Weed
The legality and culture around marijuana have changed. Epidemiologists are still alarmed by how many Americans smoke weed. However, they continue to mistakenly believe that weed does not pose a threat to health.
The popular image of the smoker is loaded with negative health effects. It’s about smoking causing cancer and forgetful drug addicts damaging the brain with weed. Moms who continue to smoke after giving birth think they have a reason for doing so.
1. Psychological effect
Cannabis is a drug that makes you feel happy or relaxed. The main psychoactive ingredient stimulates the part of the brain that is responsible for pleasure, such as food and sex. This releases a chemical called dopamine which gives a feeling of euphoria and relaxation.
Analysis of self-reported reasons for breastfeeding mothers to use cannabis shows the importance of the social context. Young mothers continue to smoke weed hoping for social improvement.
Motivations for smoking weed:
- Meet the expectations of the circle of acquaintances.
- Emotion and mood management.
- Use related to sex (reducing inhibitions).
- Increased social interaction and sense of well-being.
Socialization is one of the main reasons breastfeeding mothers continue to use marijuana. Most often, those who breastfeed smoke weed in the company of friends.
3. Relief of chronic pain
There are hundreds of chemical compounds in cannabis, many of which are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids relieve chronic pain. Therefore, doctors prescribe medical cannabis to relieve pain.
Women who suffer from chronic pain continue to smoke weed while breastfeeding to relieve the pain. You should consult with the doctor about replacing cannabis with another way to relieve pain.
4. Help with weight loss
Women after childbirth are often concerned about the problem of excess weight. They use weed as one of the ways to lose weight. Cannabis helps your body regulate insulin while effectively managing your calorie intake.
THCV, which is part of marijuana, helps to lose weight. THC increases appetite and THCV suppresses it. It affects the regulation of blood sugar levels. Smoking weed containing THCV does not make you want to eat. This is an unsuccessful way to lose weight and entails many health problems.
5. Treatment for depression
Most people are not even aware of depression. Women after childbirth are often exposed to it. The endocannabinoid compounds in cannabis can help stabilize mood, which can alleviate depression.
6. Syndrome of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity
People with ADHD and ADD have trouble concentrating on tasks at hand. They have cognitive problems. Cannabis has shown promise in promoting focus and helping people with ADHD/ADD. It is also considered a safer alternative to psychostimulants.
7. Anxiety Relief
Cannabis relieves anxiety. Using cannabis in controlled doses and appropriately helps to reduce anxiety. Moms who are worried about their babies often use cannabis to soothe themselves.
8. Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease
People with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis experience relief from cannabis use. THC and cannabidiol help boost the immune response. These ingredients interact with cells that play a vital role in the functioning of the intestine. Cannabis helps block bacteria and other compounds that cause inflammation in the gut.
How to avoid weed while breastfeeding?
Marijuana can cloud your senses and judgment. Do not endanger yourself and the baby’s health. Use other ways to alleviate your condition.
You should talk to your doctor about alternative therapies if you are using weed to treat medical problems. Weed is not considered safe while breastfeeding, but medications can also be dangerous. Talk to your doctor, he will select medications that are compatible with breastfeeding.
Get help after having a baby
It’s normal to feel stressed when a baby comes into the house. The baby constantly requires attention to himself. It can be difficult for moms to balance their baby’s needs with their own. Stress levels can be even higher if you work or care for other children.
You are a parent, not a martyr. Accept help when offered and seek help if you can. Find a way to reduce stress after having a baby. Focus on recuperating, resting, and feeding the children. Young mothers should receive a lot of help and support.
Make lifestyle changes
Talk to a psychiatrist if using weed for mental health issues. Many psychotropic drugs and antidepressants are compatible with breastfeeding.
Consider making lifestyle choices that support your mental health. Spend time outdoors, exercise, and be sure to take breaks from social media.