Apr 23, 2016 8:30 AM

Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: What Women Should Know

There are many patients that use cannabis only because they need to ease the pain. And it is not a secret that even some pregnant women and those who recently gave birth to a child may need marijuana pain relief. That is why we decided to shed light on the issue of using marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Let us find out if cannabis use harms your baby.

First of all, we have to say that this matter is still under study, but according to the information we already hold, the use of cannabis by nursing and pregnant women is not recommended. There are various common uses of medical marijuana, but there are no definite limits for using weed during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, we decided to check all the data and share the results of multiple studies with you to clear this issue and understand if it is harmful or not.


The studies conducted in the sphere of cannabis use by pregnant and nursing mothers give no clear-cut answers, and that only makes matters worse. For instance, the 2014 research titled “Cannabis, the Pregnant Woman and Her Child: Weeding Out the Myths” states that there is no clear data about pregnant mothers using marijuana. That is why it is hard to estimate the harmful effects of cannabis on pregnant and nursing mothers. However, the scientists who worked on this study refer to other sources of information and state that marijuana use during pregnancy and lactation may harm neurodevelopment of a fetus and its behavioral and executive functioning. The reported effects may impact adult productivity and lifetime outcomes. According to the study, while there is no accurate data available, women who are expecting a baby or nursing it should stop using cannabis or at least decrease the dosage.

The Colorado task force, the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee (RMPHAC), conducted a review of the available scientific literature and came to the conclusion that there are many gaps in the existing studies, especially as to the time THC remains in the breast milk.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), however, is sure that using cannabis during lactation is harmful to a future child. Since it has already been proven that THC is stored in fat, it is natural to conclude that the THC consumed by a woman passes through breast milk and is stored in the baby’s fatty tissues. As fetus’ brain and body are made of a lot of fat, it means that THC can be stored in a baby's body for a long time. While a lot of mothers practice pumping and dumping breast milk to be able to consume alcohol, it does not work with marijuana. THC is fat-soluble, and breast milk is rich in fat.

Actions Taken

The American Medical Association has already brought up the question of health warnings for nursing and pregnant women on marijuana products in dispensaries and shops.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) refers to marijuana use as an addiction problem and pushes for banning cannabis use by pregnant women. The ACNM states that it may harm mothers and their babies. The organization refers to the 2005 National Survey on Drug and Health, which showed that 18 percent of pregnant women were positively tested for marijuana.

We are looking forward to new findings in this sphere, but as for now, we have to recommend breastfeeding and pregnant women to stop using cannabis to avoid possible risks.

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