I am a pot smoker and am going to have my first baby. I’ve been a good girl. I haven’t smoked while pregnant for fear of a piss test and having cops take my kid, but I do intend on breast-feeding. I need to know the truth about marijuana and breast milk. I hope this question doesn’t embarrass you.
I can’t find out any information I can trust. Could you point me in the right direction? If it will harm my child or his development then I will by all means abstain, but if it won’t then I will want to smoke. It’s been nine long months. Thank you for your time.
THC and the other cannabinoids are transferred to the baby via breast milk. To my knowledge, there are no studies of babies whose mothers used marijuana while breast-feeding, but did not use during pregnancy.
Dr Peter Fried, a researcher at the University of Montreal, has followed the children of middle-class mothers who used only marijuana during pregnancy and a control group whose mothers used no substances.
For the first five years, Fried observed no differences. Then he started to notice, perhaps unconsciously prompted by the threat of a funding cut-off from the US government, that there were subtle differences in the groups of children. The children of the pot users had a slightly higher intelligence than the other group. Fried has attributed this to “the earth mother effect” ? marijuana-using mothers on average spent more time with their kids and read more to their kids.
However, he claims that kids born from the marijuana-using mothers have slight gaps in “executive functioning.” An example he gives of this type of function is the skill and speed at which a person can recite the alphabet backwards. Even so, he says that the cognitive differences are very slight and are not significant as compared with neurological damage to fetuses from cigarette smoking or consumption of alcohol.
There are several other studies of the effects of marijuana use on the fetus. None have shown any significant differences in functioning.
Another aspect of marijuana is its effect on appetite and feeding. In one study, Esther Fride of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem injected newborn mouse pups with a chemical that blocks the body’s receptor sites for its endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide. The pups had problems feeding. Some of the mice died and the survivors grew slower. Pups that were given the blocker and a supplemental dose of THC fed normally. This suggests that a baby fed by a lactating marijuana user might be more likely to have a healthy, well-regulated appetite.
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