For cannabis enthusiasts, indulging in this plant is one of the most fulfilling activities there is. However, there may come a time or a period of time when you would need to refrain from consuming the herb. Pregnancy and breastfeeding period are just some of these situations.
If you are wondering whether it is safe to use cannabis while pregnant or nursing, here’s what you need to know:
Cannabis Strains Today Are Stronger
Before we discuss the safety of using marijuana during pregnancy and while nursing, one important thing you should know is that buds today are much stronger than they were 40 years ago. According to psychiatry professor Christian Hopfer, today’s marijuana strains contain 5 times THC as compared to those in the 1980s and 1970s.
Hopfer’s longstanding research of the plant revealed that buds today have about 25% THC whereas it used to be 2% to 5% in the 70s to the 80s. Moreover, the cannabidiol content of marijuana is getting lower.
However, it is important to note that marijuana is the THC-rich variety of the cannabis plant, while hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is the CBD-rich variety
Cannabis During Pregnancy – Effects to Placenta
Research by reputable organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that exposure to CBD can increase the permeability of the placenta. The placenta is an organ that forms during the pregnancy and it essentially protects the baby. When it becomes more permeable, substances can easily penetrate this barrier, exposing the baby to substances (pharmaceutical or not).
Researchers discovered that the use of cannabis while pregnant can result in increased placental resistance and reduce placental circulation. This directly affects the fetus’ circulatory system. Moreover, THC is found to be able to cross the placenta and to make its way into the fetus’ fat and blood.
Cannabinoids Can Make Their Way into Breastmilk
Another important thing you need to know when determining whether or not it is advisable to consume cannabis when breastfeeding is that a woman’s body produces milk using fat. When a person smokes this plant, the cannabinoids are stored in fat cells. So, when a mother consumes the herb while nursing, there is evidence that cannabinoids can make its way into the breastmilk.
Is it safe to use Cannabis during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding?
The simple answer is no. Experts from the AAP and ACOG recommended that medical professionals should advise against using any cannabis products while pregnant or nursing. Cannabinoids may have an effect on the development of the fetus’ brain and other body parts. For breastfed babies, these substances can also have an effect on their motor functions, coordination, strength and cerebral functions. Meanwhile, nursing mothers can struggle from low weight gain and decreased awareness when taking care of the baby.
Aside from cannabis, pregnant and nursing mothers should also abstain from alcohol, tobacco, illicit substances and medications for non-medical reasons.
When it comes to carrying a baby to term and taking care of it once born, there is nothing wrong with sacrificing a bit of your indulgence. So, keep your baby healthy and happy by refraining from cannabis during these crucial periods of time.