Study warns that cannabis crosses into breast milk



(28 Aug 2018) LEADIN:
A new study on marijuana use by pregnant women in the U.S. is raising concern.  
The University of California research found some of marijuana’s main ingredients in breast milk.
STORYLINE:
Keira Sumimoto doesn’t shy away from calling herself a “canna-momma.”
“When I gave birth to her, regardless of how small she was – 5 pounds, 14 ounces at 42 weeks – she ripped me top to bottom. And I was prescribed pain medication. Naturally and historically, I steer away from pain medication, it just makes me feel uncomfortable in a sense, and I also had family history with opioids. So I decided that I would continue my consumption of cannabis,” says Sumimoto.
A new University of California study found some of marijuana’s main ingredients in breast milk.
It involved 50 nursing mothers who were using cannabis.
According to the study, marijuana is the most commonly used recreational drug among breastfeeding women.
As more U.S. mothers use cannabis during pregnancy and afterward, doctors are warning against it.
“Both THC, which is the psychoactive component, and cannabidiol, which is used more medicinally, both of those substances cross from the mother into breast milk and can be ingested by the baby,” says Sheryl Ryan, professor of paediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine.
The study states that in 50 women reporting marijuana use while breastfeeding, tetrahydrocannabinol was measurable in 63% of milk samples, up to 6 days after last use.
Researchers say such ingredients have potential to cause harm, although solid evidence is lacking.
The study states that “because the brain rapidly develops during the time period when, ideally, a child’s main source of nutrition is human milk, brain development may be altered by THC exposure.”
The American Academy of Paediatrics made its view clear on this matter.
“I think the important message is that for women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy or breast-feeding, given the emerging evidence that we know that has us concerned about the safety of marijuana and cannabis products during pregnancy and breast-feeding, the American Academy recommends that women abstain from using all cannabis substances if possible,” says Ryan.
Experts say more research is needed.
Sumimoto agrees with advice to be cautious but says fear should not take over.
“It’s very terrifying, you feel threatened or you feel like you’re being judged,” she says.
As for her daughter, Sumimoto says she’s thriving.
“Lily is doing amazing! She is engaged, she is very aware of her surroundings, she makes eye contact, she has five words in her vocabulary already and she’s eight months old.”

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