Marijuana study finds THC in breast milk up to 6 days after mom's use

Doctors are getting a better understanding of how using marijuana can affect a breastfeeding mother's milk supply -- and for how long.

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that low levels of chemicals in marijuana, like tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, were measurable in several mothers' breast milk up to six days after they said they smoked pot or ate an edible, among other forms of use.

"Whether this means that some level -- or any level -- of these metabolites can negatively influence child development is unknown at this point," said senior study author Christina Chambers, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego and director of clinical research for the Department of Pediatrics at UCSD and Rady Children's Hospital.

"It's important to be able to know the answers to those questions so the advice that pediatricians and obstetricians are giving to pregnant women and breastfeeding women are based on sound evidence," she said. "This is a call to action to take the next steps to study long-term outcomes in these children."

Separate research, published last year in the medical journal JAMA, found that the prevalence of marijuana use among a sample of 279,457 pregnant women in California climbed from 4.2% to 7.1% from 2009 through 2016.

Physicians and scientists have been taking a closer look at the health implications of marijuana use while breastfeeding since mothers in the United States got greater access through legalized recreational use in several states.

Nine states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington -- and the District of Columbia allow recreational sales of marijuana, as well as medical.


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