Marijuana Can Stay in Breast Milk for Up to 6 Days, Warn Pediatricians

Pediatricians are warning pregnant or breastfeeding mothers to stay away from marijuana after a new study finds that traces of the drug can stay in breast milk for up to six days.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that causes a high, was still evident in breast milk after nearly a week, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP.

The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found THC in 63 percent of 54 samples of breast milk from women who had smoked marijuana before pumping.

Researchers looked into the staying power of the drug as eight states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws allowing for recreational use of marijuana, and 30 states allow it in some form for medicinal use.

The AAP said in a statement that marijuana use among pregnant women has increased by 62 percent between 2002 and 2014.

“The fact that marijuana is legal in many states may give the impression the drug is harmless during pregnancy, especially with stories swirling on social media about using it for nausea with morning sickness,” said Dr. Sheryl A. Ryan, one of the lead authors on the study and chair of the AAP Committee on Substance Use and Prevention.

“But in fact, this is still a big question. We do not have good safety data on prenatal exposure to marijuana. Based on the limited data that does exist, as pediatricians, we believe there is cause to be concerned about how the drug will impact the long-term development of children.”

RELATED VIDEO: Georgia Couple Loses Custody of Son After Letting Him Use Marijuana to Stop Seizures

Those existing studies show that there is a risk, Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, an ob-gyn from Yale University and member of PEOPLE’s Health Squad, said.

“Even if the mom smokes just one time, there are studies showing that it crosses the placenta. That causes the concentration of THC in the baby to be about 10 percent of that in the mom. And with repeated uses, the amount goes up,” Minkin previously told PEOPLE. “The other problem is that THC binds well to fats, in cell membranes, and can achieve a significant level not only in the mom’s brain, but also in the fetal brain.”

Some mothers use marijuana during pregnancy to counteract nausea, but Minkin said there are “a lot of other, safer options available.”

“There is even some data on good old vitamin B6, which helps some women with nausea during pregnancy. So please, if you are having nausea, do check in with your midwife or obstetrician,” she said.

Source: Read Full Article