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Marijuana THC Can Stay in Breast Milk for Six Weeks Even After New Moms Quit Using it

Representative photo.

Representative photo.

A recent study reveals that the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana can last upto six weeks, even after the woman stopped consuming the drug.

All doctors across the globe advise pregnant women to stay away from both hard and soft drugs, at least till the time they are going to breastfeed their child. This point by the medical experts has now been proven by a recent study that reveals that the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana can last upto six weeks, even after the woman stopped consuming the drug.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the researchers found out that the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level of women who had given birth two weeks ago was as much as 5.5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). It is only after six weeks after the delivery that the woman’s THC level in breast milk got reduced to around 2 ng/mL. This number is comparatively low, but is sufficient enough to get detected. This study, which was conducted by a team from University of Colorado School of Medicine, was supported by recommendations from American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Dr Erica Wymore, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine, who is also one of the contributors to the study, opined that the consumption of marijuana in general has increased in the society. As a result, the consumption of this substance among pregnant women has also increased. However, since there was no data regarding how long the content of tetrahydrocannabinol stays in the breast milk, it was a task for doctors to tell mothers about the safety of using the drug while breastfeeding. Therefore, with this study, this question was answered by determining the level and time of THC excretion in breast milk.

This study also sheds light on the time period taken by a woman to metabolize the tetrahydrocannabinol after delivering the baby. The research also advocates absolute abstention from marijuana from the very beginning of pregnancy to postpartum. Dr Maya Bunik, professor of paediatrics at the School of Medicine, who is another researcher in this study, also mentions that in order to ensure abstention,one must ensure that the woman has a good support system from the very beginning of her pregnancy.

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Consumption of the drug during the pregnancy can also lead to low birth weight, development disabilities and attention issues in the baby. Meanwhile, another recent research revealed that the self-reported marijuana use among pregnant women has seen an exponential rise. From 2002 to 2017, the number of women using the drug increased from 3.4 percent to 7 percent.

Keywords: tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, marijuana, pregnancy, pregnancy healthcare, pregnancy care

first published:March 09, 2021, 17:30 IST