Colorado Funds Study to Examine THC in Mama's Breast Milk

Maybe we'll finally have some answers.

Studies have told doctors that increasingly greater numbers of women are smoking pot, and a lot of those cannabis-consuming women are pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. Currently, the amount of credible research that says Mom's weed use will ruin her baby is far from conclusive, but the overall consensus among doctors is that ingesting cannabis while pregnant or while breastfeeding is not worth the risk.

But, science still just doesn't know for sure.

At the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado, Dr. Erica Wymore is leading a yearlong study to determine the effects of THC in breast milk. She’s testing weed-using moms who aren’t actually breastfeeding within 30 days of giving birth.

“I think [marijuana] is perceived as a medication or a drug that is very safe and organic, and I think what we just don’t know are the ill effects,” Wymore tells Rocky Mountain PBS.

And in Colorado, weed is everywhere, and it’s fully legal. That grants cannabis access to every mother in the state who wants to turn to the plant for healing benefits. Now, there’s a scramble for doctors to keep up with public consumption trends and find definitive answers to the effects of mother-delivered THC and babies. To its merit, Colorado is leading the charge.

From Rocky Mountain PBS:

In the first state-wide survey of its kind, the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, published by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment in 2016, assessed maternal use of marijuana in Colorado. Out of the 2,000 mothers surveyed, on average, 5 percent reported using marijuana during the first three months of pregnancy and 2 percent reported using during the last three months of pregnancy. The women in this group tended to be younger mothers, ages 15 to 24, white and living 250 percent below the federal poverty level. 
The anonymous in-person survey found that of the 1,749 participants, 95 of them reported using marijuana within the previous 30 days. Of those, almost 36 percent reported regularly consuming cannabis while pregnant. More than 41 percent reported using marijuana after pregnancy and nearly 14 percent while breastfeeding. 

Some studies show that THC during pregnancy or infancy could lead to cognitive and behavioral problems that can develop in later childhood, and other findings indicate that smoking weed while prego is fine. A lot of moms agree that they’d rather risk potential, less than fully founded, future behavioral issues  than give up a self-prescribed medication that is helping combat depression and other ailments.

“We know that marijuana is a fat-loving substance, and so when it is consumed into your body, it stores in your fat stores, and our brain and our nervous system has a lot of fat content, as well as breast milk has high-fat content,” Wymore says. “THC marijuana in general is a compound that has a lot of different effects on the body, and we know a lot about it, but there's a lot that we don't know in regard to how it affects the (baby’s) developing brain.”

This is the first government-funded study to examine THC in breast milk. The team hopes to have some solid results by November 2017.