Breastfeeding & Cannabis

September 4th, 2012 by Will Humble Leave a reply »

Some AZ health care providers and parents have asked questions about whether medical marijuana is safe for use while breastfeeding.  The short answer is no, because the active chemical in marijuana is passed to the baby through breast milk. For this reason, most experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC advise moms not to use marijuana (medical or not) while breastfeeding.   

Tetrahydrocannabinol (the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis) stays in the body for four to six weeks.  It’s found in the urine of breastfeeding babies whose mothers use marijuana. It’s also fat soluble, which means it builds up with chronic use and can be stored in fat tissue for months. We also know that babies are much more vulnerable than adults to illness, infection, chemicals, and so on. That alone is a good reason to avoid marijuana and anything else potentially harmful that can enter your baby’s body through your milk.  

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has a protocol that you can use to make breastfeeding decisions.  For more information about the effects of marijuana and other medications, go to the National Libraries of Medicine’s LactMed database. For answers to this and other breastfeeding questions, call the ADHS 24-hour breastfeeding hotline at 1-800-833-4642. 

Of course- all sorts of prescription and over-the-counter medicines are also transferred to infants in breast milk- but pediatricians are more familiar with which medicines are safe to take while breastfeeding because they’re tested by the FDA- and most medicine labels discuss breastfeeding.



  1. Bill Hayes says:

    Marijuana is a naturally occurring plant, it’s chemical properties of cannabinoids 1 and 2 are made by the human body, as well as another chemical compound anandamide, which is found not only in the human body but chocolate and many other sources. It has been recently discovered through scientific study that these exact compounds that are found in the marijuana plant and conversely THC are found in human breast milk!! It has been well documented- just not highly published due to the current war on drugs. These same cannabinoids are found in human breast milk to encourage suckling by that of the newborn- eating is a new feat to a small being who has been fed via umbilical cord for 9 months. They have done significant studies where the receptors have been artificially blocked in infant mice, and the mice wither away in size and lose all interest in eating. It seems that these compounds play a critical role in the survival rate of newborns. Not only are these cannabinoids found in breast milk, but the placenta as well- they play once again a critical role in pre-natal forming in the uterus. I am not giving all of this information to say that smoking marijuana is good for your baby, but to counter some of the ridiculous comments that will be posted- mostly because it simply isn’t harmful to your baby.

  2. Gary says:

    the active chemical in marijuana Tetrahydrocannabinol may still be found in your system for four to six weeks BUT… Does NOT stay active that long…Mr Humble you are so wrong

  3. Bonita says:

    Yet nothing is said about the harm to infants with all the vaccinations. A baby comes out and has all the natural immunities. Breast feeding needs to be encouraged because the awesome design of the connection of the feeding from the natural mother gives the child the immune boost it needs to kick in their own natural immunities. The bombardment of vaccines upon a child is actually destroying their own immune systems but destroying the brain as well! So if we are going to caution about medication consumption of a breast feeding mother then let us also share the “Rest of the Story”!

  4. Any drugs or alcohol during breastfeeding is not healthy. Neither for the baby nor for the mum. Therefore, for the baby: Keep clean

  5. John says:

    What an idiot. No actual evidence of thc having a negetive effect on the babies. Just the fact that it’s transferred to the baby. Nice scare tactic.

    • Will Humble says:

      Not a scare tactic – it’s important to most Moms and Dads to know what any potential harm may come to their children. It’s important to us to tell them.

  6. Mr Humble your blog ‘Breastfeeding & Cannabis’ is wrong and negligent coming from someone in your position… you should decline writing on any future issues you do not have a clue about.

    The endocannabinoid system refers to a group of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors that are involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory; it mediates the psychoactive effects of cannabis and, broadly speaking, includes:

    Endocannabinoid’s are in breast milk and part of ‘YOUR’ Physiology. Please disallow your negative stance on Prop 203 from getting in the way of educating AZ on the whole. Please visit the links on this subject and blog the truth about this topic.

    Could you please post the latest data for October Cardholder Stats:

    Thanks :-]

  7. Mr Humble could you please ask your staff to re-post the link that reports AZ Med MJ Cardholder Stats?

    Thanks in advance…

  8. I’m looking for the public link… you directed me to active cardholder access.


  9. EBJr1207 says:

    Of course- all sorts of prescription and over-the-counter medicines are also transferred to infants in breast milk- but pediatricians are more familiar with which medicines are safe to take while breastfeeding because they’re tested by the FDA- and most medicine labels discuss breastfeeding.

    Doctors will prescribe Vicodin to new moms that are going home after childbirth. My jaw almost dropped when my doctor offered a script for it after I had given birth to my son.

    Also, my gynecologist wanted to give me Prozac for PPD when the label clearly said, “Do not take while nursing.” She wasn’t concerned at all and said, “All they know is that it passes through to the milk, but there have been no bad effects reported. It’s fine.” I called and asked another doctor to elaborate on this and she said, “Well since pharmaceutical companies don’t test on babies because it’s unethical, we don’t know anything, most of the time, about whether or not it affects the infant in some not-so-obvious way. It’s a gamble, but many doctors and patients still feel comfortable. If you want me to switch you to Zoloft, which doesn’t pass through at all, I can.” (Haha…um, that would be nice, thank you.).

    Case in point: there is no FDA approved tests on these kinds of meds because the FDA won’t experiment with babies in these cases, yet doctors still prescribe them;

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